Jonathan Chait asks a very simple but important question:
The Beltway Media has the astonishing habit of reporting exactly what Republicans want them to report regardless of what the rest of the country actually thinks. In this instance, as Chait points out, Americans are all for cutting taxes to the middle class but they really really don't like the idea of cutting taxes for the rich:
The poll finds that Americans support cutting taxes for middle- and lower-income Americans by large margins (78-19), and opposes cutting taxes for the affluent by nearly as wide a margin (33-62).
The Republican tax plan will, of course, do the exact opposite of this, raising taxes on the rest of us to pay for massive tax cuts for billionaires. Chait posits this will hurt the party because, "You don’t help your party win an election by passing a starkly unpopular law." But those were the old rules and those don't work anymore.
Now, if you're a Republican, you can simply lie about what a law does and know that around 35% of the country will believe you and/or still support you. For the most recent example of this, look at the repeated attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare. Republicans, with not a trace of shame, stood in front of every camera they could find and said the various bills they drafted in secret would do the exact opposite of what they actually did.
Fox News, AM Hate Radio and right wing websites put those lies on blast, the "liberal" media tut-tutted about "stretching the truth" and millions of Republican voters mistakenly figured, "Eh, at least it won't take away my healthcare!" and went back to staring at the cleavage of the latest blonde on Fox News. Trump put his support behind them all and paid exactly no penalty for doing so. The damage at the polls came when they couldn't take away healthcare away from millions of Trump voters.
And so it will be for tax reform. Liberals will scream that it raises taxes on the poor and middle class to pay for trillions in cuts to the rich but the right will only hear Republicans telling them how it will lift their burden and stimulate the economy. Fox News will flash them a little leg and tell them the job creators will make us (meaning conservative white people) all rich. Rush Limbaugh will tell them liberals hate the rich. Breitbart's comment section will be filled with posts about how the lazy Negros are mad because they'll have to get jobs now. All of them will revel in the liberal tears that a Trump "win" will cause.
Because, in the end, "winning" is all the right really cares about anymore. If Trumpcare had passed, his popularity among conservative would have soared because a spike in their own premiums would have been worth it just to stick it to liberals and make them cry. With the right wing media echo chamber to keep them smothered in propaganda, Republican voters will happily accept a knife in their chest as a victory for America. This is not a new thing, President Johnson famously commented on a similar dynamic back in the 60s, but with the advent of the conservative media bubble, it's been taken to a new, and far more dangerous, extreme.
If Republicans can get over their own internal divisions (and cutting taxes on the rich while screwing everyone else is a pretty low bar), there's every reason to believe it will bolster their standing with their voters. They will have proven they can get things done even if those things are demonstrably bad for their voters. Besides, it's going to piss off liberal and that's the most important thing, right?
There are 39 days left to the the 2017 elections.
There are 403 days left to the 2018 elections.
- This article kills fascists
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