Election 2020

2018 Looking Up: Voters Warm to Tax Reform and GOP After Wage Boost, No Mass Deaths

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Signs are finally looking up for Republicans in this year’s November elections. Americans like the real results of tax reform, as Democrat fear-mongering falls on deaf ears. President Donald Trump’s approval rating is up, and as the media re-litigates the 2016 election, revelations seem only to get worse for Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration.

On Monday, The New York Times released a SurveyMonkey poll revealing that 51 percent of Americans approve of the tax reform law President Trump signed last December. This represented a major upswing from 37 percent in December and 46 percent in January. Monmouth University polls also found an upswing: from 26 percent in December to 44 percent last month.

“Public opinion is moving in the direction of this bill,” Jon Cohen, chief research officer for SurveyMonkey, told the Times. “Considering where it was, it is dramatically different.” Support for tax reform has grown even among Democrats, and Cohen acknowledged that running on opposition to the bill has become a political gamble.

This political windfall makes a great deal of sense. The former director of President Obama’s National Economic Council, Larry Summers, echoed Democrat hysteria last year in warning that people would die from the tax reform bill — because it repealed Obamacare’s hated individual mandate. Instead, employees across the country have seen $1,000 bonuses.

Last month, Berkshire Hills Bancorp announced it would provide a $1,000 bonus to more than 1,000 employees, raise the minimum wage of employees to $15 per hour, enhance employee training programs, and contribute $2 million to its charitable foundation, following the tax reform law. This month, Smucker’s announced a one-time bonus of $1,000 to nearly 5,000 employees, an incremental $20 million increase in the employee pension plan, and a $1 million increase to charitable contributions.

More than 3 million American workers have received bonuses, according to an analysis from Americans for Tax Reform.

The tax reform windfall has also directly boosted GOP hopes for November 2018. Last week, a Politico/Morning Consult poll found Republicans ahead of Democrats in the generic Congressional ballot — for the first time since last April. While 39 percent of registered voters said they would support the GOP candidate for Congress in their district, 38 percent said they would back the Democrat, and 23 percent said they were undecided.

The Politico poll also found Trump’s approval rating on the rise. According to the poll, 47 percent of voters approve of the job Trump is doing, while the same percentage disapprove. Meanwhile, 36 percent viewed House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) favorably (and 40 percent viewed him unfavorably), while only 28 percent said the same for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Nearly half of voters, 49 percent, viewed Pelosi unfavorably.

Pelosi has become infamous for dismissing tax reform bonuses for employees as “crumbs” compared to the benefits companies receive from tax reform. When Republican Karen Handel defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff in the Georgia-6 special election, her victory proved that Pelosi was a particularly effective punching bag for Republican campaigns. Expect many ads attacking Pelosi later this year.

Perhaps worse, many Democrats attacked tax reform as “theft,” suggesting they did not believe in private property. Should tax reform become even more effective and popular, Democrats will have to eat their words — and explain why all property should be assumed to belong to the state.

Not all indicators show Republicans ahead — many polls still suggest an uphill battle on the generic congressional ballot and for Trump specifically. However, many signals are on the upswing.

If Trump can continue tailoring his tweets toward policy rather than personal attacks, and if Republicans can make a breakthrough on a key issue, and if Democrats continue to make fools of themselves on immigration, there is every reason to think the GOP will keep its majority in the House of Representatives, and even pick up seats in the Senate.