When Rick Scott recently released his 11 point plan for Republican governance, Midnight Mitch immediately dragged him over it. There was one item on Scott’s agenda that particularly drew the ire of people on both sides of the aisle, specifically his call for everyone in the country to pay at least some amount of income tax, no matter their income level. That’s the item that’s been drawing all of the headlines, but a poll out this week from Morning Consult shows that the other ten points in his plan are mostly quite popular, with some of them receiving significant majorities of support, including from many Democrats. Rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater, it might behoove the rest of the GOP to take notice.
A provision described in Florida Sen. Rick Scott’s plan for Republican governance that would require all Americans to pay income tax could prove to be a political liability — especially among the country’s lowest earners — according to a new Morning Consult/Politico survey. But other pieces of the cultural and economic message the Senate GOP campaign chief has touted ahead of the midterm elections are generally backed by the U.S. electorate.
A slim majority of voters (51 percent) — including 62 percent of Democrats and 39 percent of Republicans — oppose Scott’s call to require all Americans to pay federal income tax, which would impose new costs on low earners and retirees.
Scott, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said all Americans should “have skin in the game, even if a small amount” when it comes to income tax, specifically referencing the half of Americans he said avoid the levy. Currently, millions of Americans do not pay income taxes because they’re retired, do not make enough money or receive tax credits.
So it’s obvious that the “everyone pays something” idea wasn’t going to fly and the survey results back that up. No matter how you feel about everyone “having skin in the game,” it’s an idea that would rile up precisely the people you need to have on your side. The rich tend to kick in significantly to political campaigns, but the poor to middle-class Americans have a lot more votes. The plan would hit both the younger working-class and retirees, two essential voting blocks.
But as I suggested above, there are many elements of the plan that are wildly popular and these results should be a grim reminder for Democrats that the progressive agenda is not what the country is yearning for. Term limits for members of Congress are supported by 79% of the public with only 9% opposing the idea. The “made in America” concept, reducing our dependence on foreign countries is almost as popular with 77% support.
In what will come as a huge disappointment to the Squad and the House Progressive Caucus, “prioritizing domestic energy sources” receives the same 77% level of support. Joe Biden is sitting on a huge missed opportunity there. Requiring voter ID is almost equally popular at 76%. Only 15% oppose it. Advocating the teaching of the Pledge of Allegiance in schools and increased funding for the police both racked up approval marks in the mid-sixties. And in a huge blow to the Democrats’ LGBT base, “promoting the idea that there are only two genders” gets a slim 52% majority in agreement, with only 33% opposing it. (Honestly, I’m flabbergasted that it wasn’t a lot higher than 52%.)
Just pause for a moment and take a look at all of the items we just ticked off on that list. That’s pretty much the entire progressive agenda in a nutshell. Many of these were points brought up in the Democrats’ own rebuttals to Biden’s SOTU address. And the country is simply not on board with those priorities.
If the GOP can’t take a look at that list and build a platform to campaign on in the midterms, there’s really not much hope for the party. Republicans should be able to copy and paste that list (minus the “everyone pays taxes” provision) onto their campaign websites this year and usher in a stampede toward significant majorities in both chambers. And if that happens, the Biden presidency will be effectively over. But if they manage to blow this opportunity, we’re probably going to need a serious shake-up in the congressional Republican leadership ranks.