As we previously discussed, the Democrats are running out of time to settle on a midterm messaging strategy which will satisfy the more liberal elements of their base without turning off the middle class, working voters they need in many purple districts and states. Some of the agenda items under discussion such as infrastructure projects, lower drug costs and cheaper college tuition seem like winners, even if the plans are a bit short on detail. But those types of proposals really don’t fire up the base. The #RESIST movement has other ideas and one of them that they can’t seem to get way from is repealing some of the tax cuts passed last year.
Anyone else think raising taxes is a winning strategy? (NBC News)
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has said twice in the past week that the $1.5 trillion tax cut package should “absolutely” be redone.
“I do think that we should revisit the tax legislation in the way that we always have, in a bipartisan, transparent way,” Pelosi said at a Politico Playbook event.
“I wish Nancy Pelosi the biggest platform ever to talk about her desire to increase tax revenue,” said Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is responsible for electing Republicans to the Senate. “I hope she shouts it from the mountain top.”
Republicans worried about a blue wave couldn’t be happier about this, but the Democratic party leadership can’t seem to wrap their heads around the idea that raising taxes isn’t traditionally a winner at the ballot box. It’s true that the tax cuts don’t poll as well in some specific places. The NBC News analysis correctly points to a number of districts in states with high state taxes like New Jersey, New York and California where high-income residents lost out on some SALT (state and local tax) deductions. Those areas probably wouldn’t mind seeing at least some portions of the tax package rolled back.
But the competitive house races in those areas are not in the high-income areas for the most part. The SALT deduction limits only really affected people making at least $150K per year. That’s going to cover a lot of ground in Manhattan and Los Angeles, but the Democrats already hold almost all of those seats. The competitive districts in New York are in the upstate region where earning $150K or more puts you very far up the ladder. The majority of voters don’t earn nearly that much and are not being affected by the SALT deduction changes.
At this point, it seems like Cory Gardner has it right. The more Nancy Pelosi and the DNC chair want to talk about repealing tax cuts, the more the GOP should hand them a bigger microphone and run clips of them saying these things in all the competitive districts. There are still plenty of people who think the blue wave is going to show up on election day, but if this is the Dem strategy they settle on I don’t think Pelosi should spend too much on new curtains for the Speaker’s office just yet.