Kay highlighted this tweet in the morning thread:
News —> Republicans are pointedly warning Democrats: If you raise taxes on corporations and upper earners now, we’ll cut them back when we win power https://t.co/MBwXjOklwp
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) May 19, 2021
The fact that the tweet is illustrated with Rand “Baby Doc” Paul’s stupid Backpfeifengesicht face is icing on the cake. But that arrogant and contemptible wretch gives droning, supercilious voice to his party’s monomaniacal focus here. As Kay put it:
This the only real issue on the Right. Low taxes for rich people is the one and only real thing they work on. The rest is just grievance culture and whining.
It isn’t an accident that it’s the only thing Trump and his GOP majority accomplished. They don’t do any work on anything else. The rest is performance and fundraising.
Yep. And that puts the GOP at odds with America:
Two-thirds of Americans (67%) support raising taxes on those making $400,000 or more while keeping tax rates at current levels for anyone making under that amount. Nearly all Democrats and Democratic leaners (88%) support this proposal, along with 70% of independents and nearly half of Republicans and GOP leaners (45%). Even among those with household incomes of $150,000 or more, the highest category for which we collect data, 62% of people support an increase in taxes for those making at least $400K.
Early in the 2016 Republican primary, Republicans recoiled from Trump like vampires from a big, stinky garlic necklace. Our crack team of Beltway celebrity reporters largely interpreted that response as decency and seriousness shrinking from the vulgar and trifling.
But if we follow the “watch what they do, not what they say” school of analysis, it’s easy to see what elected Republicans found so alarming about Trump: the lies he was telling at the time that went against Republican anti-tax orthodoxy:
“I do very well. I don’t mind paying a little more in taxes.”
“It’s [Trump’s bogus tax plan] going to cost me a fortune, which is actually true.”
“I am willing to pay more, and you know what, the wealthy are willing to pay more.”
All lies, of course, like every other word that came out of Trump’s flapping gob. After he took office, Trump rubber-stamped the GOP donor relief bill that McConnell barfed up, leaving the national cupboards rather bare for the public health and economic crises to come. But Trump’s lies about taxing the rich on the campaign trail created a mythology that Jonathan Chait described as a “proof point in [Trump’s] self-declared presentation as a rich man sacrificing his self-interest to help the little people.”
Right now, the institutional Republican Party has nothing to offer except culture war bullshit and the absurd stabbed-in-the-back martyr mythology around Trump. Maybe that web of stupidity, hate and fear has captured all the idiots it is ever going to ensnare. With the current level of polarization, national and swing district politics are increasingly about collecting the unaffiliated and motivating the apathetic.
The GOP voted against every dime of relief Americans have received since Trump left office, and they’ll keep right on doing that as long as they’re out of power. So, if their only actual policy pitch is “vote us back in so we can cut taxes for rich people,” I think that’s a fight we can win.