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Tax Bill Looks to Be an Albatross around the Republicans' Neck in 2018 Electoral-vote.com Wed 6 Dec 17
The tax bill hasn't even been formally passed yet, but it is already clear that it will be a big problem for Republicans in 2018. Two polls on it were released yesterday. A Gallup poll shows 29% supporting it and 56% disapproving. A Quinnipiac University poll has 29% approving and 53% disapproving. Generally, Republicans like it and Democrats didn't, but independents don't like it by a margin of 2 to 1. That spells trouble for the Republicans in 2018. To make it worse, few people understand what is in it (and that includes the members of Congress who voted for it). When the final bill is announced and people begin to understand its consequences for them, it is only going to get less popular. Democrats are going to use it like a baseball bat to hit the 35 Republican representatives in California, Illinois, New Jersey, and New York over the head.

FiveThirtyEight has looked up the popularity of past tax bills and noted that this tax-cut bill is less popular than previous tax increases. The approve/disapprove for the 1993 Bill Clinton tax increase scored 34%/44% and the George H.W. Bush tax hike of 1990 was 41%/52%. For a tax cut to be less popular than a tax increase is unprecedented. No tax cut in the past 35 years has been underwater, and certainly not under water by 20 points. The Republicans may make their donors happy if the final bill passes, but at the same time they will be giving the Democrats a powerful weapon to use in 2018.

If the Democrats campaign in 2018 by attacking the tax bill, saying the Republicans have raised taxes on the middle class to (partially) pay for big tax cuts for the rich and corporations, the Republicans will scream "class warfare." Veteran Democratic strategist John Lapp said: "Bring it on." J.B. Poersch, president of a Democratic PAC, put it this way: "Republicans have failed to defend working families both in terms of health care and in this awful tax bill. 2018 is about holding them accountable for making the promise." A "class warfare" approach to the midterms is likely to energize the Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party without offending the centrists, making it the ideal strategy. (V)

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