December 4, 2017
By Robert Kuttner | Jan 02, 2018
Can Democrats make big gains in the 2018 midterm by running against the Republican tax bill?
Maybe not—but they can take back Congress anyway.
Why is tax bill not easy pay dirt, despite its unpopularity?
First, it’s complicated as hell. Second, it may not take full effect until after the 2018 midterm election. Third, almost half of working-class Americans will actually get a net tax cut, even though the cut for the rich is much bigger. And fourth, the offsetting cuts in social benefits will take effect after a lag.
In running against the tax cut, it’s fine to point out how Republicans are the party of billionaires and bogus trickle-down economics. But Dems have to be careful not to sound like the boy who cried wolf, or too policy wonkish. Most voters won’t feel that much effect.
That said, the Republicans will still be monumentally unpopular next year. The Virginia and New Jersey state and local elections last month showed impressive evidence of a true grassroots blue upsurge. Swing voters are increasingly alienated from Trump, too.
By next year, Trump will be in even bigger trouble, courtesy of the special counsel, assuming he’s still in office. So we can expect a happy election night for Democrats next November.
Just don’t put too many eggs in that tax basket. And above all, have a clear, affirmative program.