GOP groups, candidates hammering home tax message: report

GOP groups, candidates hammering home tax message: report
© Greg Nash

Conservative groups are hammering Democrats on tax reform ahead of the 2018 midterms, forcing Democrats to respond with messages attacking the GOP tax-reform plan signed into law in December.

USA Today reports that Republican-aligned groups and candidates have released nearly 18,000 ads specifically centered around tax reform, and almost 27,000 have mentioned taxes in general since Jan. 1.

In total, 32 percent of all ads targeting House and Senate races this year have mentioned taxes, according to the newspaper, an increase from 13 percent at the same time in 2016 and 16 percent in 2014, the last two congressional election years.

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"Every Republican member of Congress needs to run on the middle-class tax cut and win on the middle-class tax cut," Congressional Leadership Fund Director Corry Bliss told USA Today.

"This election sets up a central contrast: One party cut your taxes. The other party mocked you and your tax cut," he added. "If you are living paycheck to paycheck, and someone gets you an extra $2,000 next year, that's a big deal."

Democratic groups including liberal tax-reform group Not One Penny have hit back, USA Today noted, releasing ads slamming Republicans for tax cuts which Democrats say unfairly benefited the wealthiest Americans and large corporations.

"It very much feels like Washington is looking out for the corporations and the very wealthy," says the narrator of an Iowa ad funded by Not One Penny, for example. "The majority of us are going to end up paying more in taxes just to give tax breaks to people who already have a lot of money."

Democratic analysts, meanwhile, say the influx of ads targeting tax reform don't show the GOP on offense, describing them as a panicked move by a desperate adversary.

Tax reform is “a lifeline in a very bleak political environment" for Republicans, Democratic pollster Geoff Garin told USA Today. “The only virtue of this issue for Republicans is that every other issue is worse.”