GOP tax plans make midterm landslide more likely for Dems

The most important political data point of the day can be found in a recent poll from Quinnipiac, in which the popularity of the pending GOP tax bills was only 25 percent.

Let's watch future polling, but make no mistake, the GOP tax bill could well become the latest GOP albatross in the midterm elections, coupled with the hugely unpopular family of disastrous health-care bills earlier this year. 

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The second-most important political data point of the day is the generic balloting between the parties in the midterm elections, which can be found on RealClearPolitics and shows Democrats with a huge lead over Republicans of almost 11 percent.  

 

A question for Republicans: When you are down by landslide numbers in polling against Democrats, why do you push a tax bill favored by only 25 percent of voters and include in that bill provisions of your health-care bills that were favored by even fewer voters? Is this your strategy to win the midterm elections? 

Republicans are in big trouble with voters. There is now a real prospect that Democrats win a landslide victory in the midterm elections. The odds of Democrats regaining control of the House of Representatives are now, in my view, slightly above even money. If Democrat Doug Jones wins the Senate election in Alabama, control of the Senate would be seriously in play as well.

The GOP has a Trump problem. Republican members dread the prospect of alienating the Trump base, which is in the range of 35 percent of voters, in primaries. But by courting this constituency, Republicans hyper-energize the much larger majority of voters who oppose Trump, often vehemently. 

The GOP has a Roy Moore problem. Moore creates the ultimate negative branding problem for Republicans in every state. His extreme views and credible allegations of abuse of women make Moore pure anathema to a huge majority of voters in blue, red and purple states.

The GOP has a blue state problem, which will give a huge boost to Democratic prospects of regaining control of the House. When prominent Republicans consider eliminating the deduction for state and local taxes, for example, they are offering a political suicide pill to many GOP members of the House and Senate who represent blue states and districts.

For this reason and others, the GOP has a tax bill problem. As events unfold, let's watch whether future polls show the popularity of the GOP tax bill rises above or falls below 25 percent of voters. Current trends do not bode well for Republicans.

Democrats will continue to charge, and they will be accurate in their sentiments, that the GOP tax bills provide gigantic financial benefits to the most wealthy Americans and the most profitable corporations. Most voters will agree with Democrats about this.

Democrats will continue to charge, and they will be accurate, that a significant number of middle-class Americans will face a tax increase under the GOP tax bills. Whether that number of middle-class Americans facing a tax increase turns out to be 10 percent, 15 percent or a higher figure, it is politically insane for the GOP to fight for a tax increase for any of them.

Democrats will vow to oppose any tax increase for any middle-income Americans. A large majority of voters will strongly back Democrats on this.

Democrats will continue to charge, and they will be accurate, that the Senate tax bill would impose significant insurance premium increases on huge numbers of voters.  

Do Republicans really want to campaign in 2018 on a platform of raising taxes for some middle-class voters, raising insurance premiums for other middle-class voters and raising both for the biggest losers under the GOP tax bill, while Democrats campaign for cutting taxes and lowering insurance premiums for all voters?

The low popularity of Republicans was worsened by the TrumpCare, RyanCare and McConnellCare proposals, along with the ill-fated Graham-Cassidy plan. This low popularity of Republicans will be worsened by the House tax bill, the Senate tax bill and any similar tax bill that becomes law.

The politically smart move for Republicans will be to take down the tax bills and work with Democrats to pass a tax cut early next year that helps all middle-class voters and is fair, just and bipartisan.

Republicans are more likely to forge ahead with their current plans, which will make Democrats more likely to win an epic landslide in the midterm elections of 2018.   

Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the U.S. House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.