Have they sent out their job applications? Because the American people aren’t buying. A few weeks ago an internal GOP survey found that “we’ve lost the messaging battle” on the legislation, with voters overwhelmingly believing that the tax cuts went to corporations and the rich, and many worried that increased deficits will endanger Social Security and Medicare.
Why are Republican policy ideas falling so flat? At one level, the answer is obvious: GOP policies are unpopular because they hurt far more Americans than they help. Why should anyone expect cutting taxes on the rich while taking health care away from the sick to be popular?
The question is why such policies were ever popular. The answer, I think, is that in the past, voters didn’t see the connections.
In the case of health care, it was a lot easier to peddle scare stories about Obamacare before it went into effect, insuring tens of millions, than it is to defend taking away coverage people already have.
And Trump’s tariffs suffer politically because some Americans are already being hurt, while the supposed beneficiaries have good reason to doubt whether they will be helped. In fact, even as Trump boasts that his steel tariffs have revived the industry, two major steelworker unions have voted to go on strike — because while corporate profits have surged, workers’ wages haven’t.
Of course, Republicans aren’t giving up. If they can’t win on the issues, they’ll try to win on something else — and we know what that something else is. Across America, voters are being barraged with Republican ads showing scary dark people.
And it might work.
But if the GOP does win, it will have won very, very ugly. And American politics will become even worse.
Writes for The New York Times.