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IBD’s editorial highlights the changing political dynamics surrounding the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, aka the Trump/GOP tax cuts.

Initially, IBD highlights the Democrats’ intention to run on the unpopularity of the tax cuts, saying “Writing in the Atlantic in December, longtime political reporter Ron Brownstein argued that ‘President Trump and congressional Republicans have just taken the same leap of faith that Democrats did when they passed the Affordable Care Act.’ He went on to note that after Democrats passed ObamaCare in early 2010, despite strong public opposition, the backlash from voters ‘helped propel Republicans to the biggest midterm gain in the House for either party since 1938 and gave them a majority in the chamber they still haven’t relinquished.'”

A funny thing happened on the Democrats’ path to the 2018 bloodbath. Much to the Democrats’ dismay, “the more people know about the GOP tax cuts, the more they like them. In fact, the latest poll from The New York Times finds 51% supporting it. That’s up from 37% in December and 46% in January. Other polls, including the IBD/TIPP poll, have found similar shifts.”

The Democrats’ biggest problem is that they unanimously voted against the tax cuts. That means they voted against a bill that’s increased wages, increased take-home pay, triggered $1,000 bonuses, bigger corporate contributions to 401(k)s and greater job security.

Candidates like Phil Bredesen will have to fight that stigma. The Democrats will be a weight around his neck now that he’s jumped into the race. Good luck fighting those headwinds. The argument will be something like this: if Joe Manchin wouldn’t vote for the Trump/GOP tax cuts, why should Tennesseans believe that Bredesen would’ve voted for them?

The other thing that Bredesen will have to fight is the fact that he’s 74 years old:

It just fits into the larger GOP narrative that the Democrats’ bench is mostly old farts. It’s difficult picturing a bunch of old farts as being change agents.

I’m predicting that the Democrats’ campaign that focuses on criticizing the Trump/GOP tax cuts is on its last legs. This article doesn’t do anything to change my opinion of that. Tuesday night on Shannon Bream’s show, Guy Benson debated Jehmu Greene about the Trump/GOP tax cuts. It wasn’t a fair fight.

Ms. Greene argued that Democrats had lost ground in the generic ballot polling because they didn’t stay on offense. That’s a foolish argument. Benson picked up on that immediately, saying that “Democrats don’t have a messaging problem. They’ve got a reality problem.” That’s what I’ve been saying on LFR since the tax cuts passed. I’ll question whether this is entirely a Nancy Pelosi problem, though. At this point, that’s true. This fall, though, Nancy Pelosi will just be the icing on a very right, tasty chocolate cake. The ‘cake’ itself is that the Democrats voted unanimously against the Trump/GOP tax cuts.

When Pelosi infamously referred to the bonuses as “crumbs”, didn’t everyone notice that Democrats immediately distanced themselves from Pelosi? Here’s the perfect illustration of the difference between crumbs and $1000 bonuses:

During the Benson-Greene debate, moderator Shannon Bream said that there’s sure to be lots of ebbs and flows left in this race. That’s true. What’s equally true is that the last month of the campaign is utterly predictable. Republicans will run ads nonstop highlighting the fact that every Democrat voted against the tax cuts. Imagine the narrator stating “Democrats voted against pay raises, big bonuses and better benefits” before switching to a middle class couple thanking Republicans for voting for the tax cuts before explaining how his bonus let them start saving for their daughter’s college education and how her raise is helping pay for a summer vacation. The ad would be finished by the GOP candidate saying “My opponent voted against you keeping more of your hard-earned money. I will fight for you, not the special interests.”


The reality is that Democrats are facing a difficult endgame situation. Like Benson said, the Democrats made their bed. Now they can sleep in it.

It’s truly amazing what good policy will do for a political party’s fortunes. Put differently, good policy makes for great politics. It always has. It always will. The Democrats’ lead on the generic ballot question has officially disappeared.

That’s the verdict of “a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll that, for the first time since April, also shows President Donald Trump’s approval rating equaling the percentage of voters who disapprove of his job performance. Fully 39 percent of registered voters say they would support the GOP candidate for Congress in their district, while 38 percent would back the Democratic candidate. Nearly a quarter of voters, 23 percent, are undecided.” With almost 9 months left until the midterm election, there’s time for several dozen more swings.

Still, there’s no disputing that Democrats lost ground after voting unanimously against the Trump/GOP tax cuts. What’s worse is that they’re caught in a difficult situation on DACA/immigration reform. If Democrats don’t make a deal on immigration, a major part of their base will be upset with them. What’s worse is that another significant part of their base will be upset if they do cut a deal with President Trump on immigration.

That’s what a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t situation looks like.

I never took the ‘building blue wave’ talk seriously for multiple reasons. First, Democrats haven’t done enough to win back blue collar voters to expand their bi-coastal base. Until Democrats start taking blue collar workers seriously, they’ll be the minority party. It’s that simple.

Next, Democrats made huge strategic mistakes by unanimously voting against the Trump/GOP tax cuts. I can’t emphasize enough how that’s killing Democrats. What’s making that worse is Nancy Pelosi’s bone-headed “crumbs” statement:

That’s what being tone deaf sounds like. It’s this cycle’s “basket of deplorables” moment:

Later, Democrats made the mistake of unanimously voting for shutting down the government. Then Democrats compounded that by voting to re-open government by voting yes for the exact same bill that they voted against on Friday night. Talk about Keystone cops. This can’t make Tom Perez happy:

The new year has also produced a Trump polling bump. In the new poll, 47 percent of voters approve of the job Trump is doing as president, while the same percentage disapprove.

Just 6 short weeks ago, President Trump was in the upper 30’s. Now, he’s in the upper 40’s in terms of approval rating. These statistics can’t leave the DCCC smiling:

“Not only have Republicans increased support on the generic congressional ballot, they are now trusted more to handle the most important issue when voters head to the polls: the economy,” said Kyle Dropp, Morning Consult’s co-founder and chief research officer. “In mid-December, 39 percent of voters said they trusted Democrats more to handle the economy, compared to 38 percent who said Republicans. Today, 43 percent say Republicans and 32 percent say Democrats.”

That’s a huge swing in 2 months. With the economy growing and showing no signs of slowing down, it isn’t foolish to think that the generic ballot question might cast the Republicans in a more positive light by Memorial Day.

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No matter whether people have lots more money in their paychecks, Democrats still insist that the Trump/GOP tax cuts are hurting the middle class. Rep. Brian Higgins, (D-NY), said “The American people are being bamboozled by rhetoric that doesn’t match the reality. The reality is that this tax cut disproportionately, clearly, unequivocally, benefits the very, very, wealthy. And this is a continuing ploy, scheme, scam on the part of House Republican leadership to deliberately mislead people into believing that these tax cuts will go toward middle America.”

Try telling that to the people who’ve received bonuses of $1,000, $2,000 and sometimes $3,000. Try telling that to the people who’ve just gotten their first pay increase since the 2006 midterms. Try telling that to the people whose companies just improved their benefit packages as a direct result of the Trump/GOP tax cuts.

Democrats hint that the Trump administration is fudging the tax tables. What’s worse is that they’re making the accusation without a hint of proof. It’s increasingly obvious that Democrats will say anything to win control of the House of Representatives. This is an example of the Democrats’ dishonesty:

Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden (D-OR) and House Ways and Means Committee ranking member Richard Neal (D-MA) have asked the Government Accountability Office to take a look at the new withholding tables. “The real question with respect to withholding is being straight with the American people, and if you play games with this in order to advance a political agenda, [then] Americans get hurt,” Wyden said.

Sen. Wyden doesn’t have anything to go on that suggests the Trump administration is fudging the withholding tables but he’s stopping just short of accusing the Trump administration of dishonesty. It’s worth remembering that Sen. Wyden is the idiot that said this:

Sen. Wyden foolishly said that “There is no magical growth fairy.” Apparently, Sen. Wyden hasn’t heard about this thing called capitalism. Whenever it’s been tried, it’s produced growth that’s pulled people out of poverty. This isn’t to be confused with crony capitalism. When crony capitalism is tried, government gets involved. When profitable markets are identified, there’s no need to provide a government incentive to get entrepreneurs to invest in those products.

Sen. Wyden is a socialist so he isn’t familiar with the wealth-creating principles of capitalism. Don’t forget that Democrats insulted everyone’s intelligence, first by telling people that they weren’t getting a tax cut, then by insisting that the big increases they were seeing in their paychecks were “crumbs.” Let this be a reminder of the difference:

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This Reuters article reports that “Senate Democrats said they had identified more than two dozen buyback programs announced since Jan. 5 by banking, energy, manufacturing, retailing and other companies.” It continues, saying “The buybacks show that the first priority of corporations is to use their windfall from the tax overhaul to ‘line the pockets of powerful senior executives and shareholders,’ said Senator Ron Wyden, the senior Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee.”

My question to Sen. Wyden is simple: so what? After all, the money put into buyback programs doesn’t negate the benefits that employees have received through bonuses, pay raises and improved benefits. That’s what makes this statement so interesting:

The new tax law and its impact on workers and the wealthy are likely to play a major role in this year’s congressional mid-term election campaign, which will determine whether Republicans maintain their control of the Senate and House of Representatives.

That ship has sailed. Before the tax cuts were passed, Democrats held a 15 point lead in the generic ballot question in Monmouth’s monthly poll. In their first poll after the tax cuts passed, Democrats held a 2 point advantage.

The new tax law and its impact on workers and the wealthy are likely to play a major role in this year’s congressional mid-term election campaign, which will determine whether Republicans maintain their control of the Senate and House of Representatives. “The American people deserve an honest accounting of how this tax law is working,” he told reporters.

Knock yourself out, Sen. Wyden. Millions of people have benefitted from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Millions of people got bonuses. Tens of millions receive more money in their paychecks as a result of lower marginal rates.

The other thing Democrats haven’t admitted is that the economy is much stronger than it was during the Obama years. They don’t care whether that’s the result of the tax cuts or if it’s the result of other policy changes. They’re just thankful the economy is stronger and wages are increasing.

It’s worth noting that Sen. Wyden is the idiot that criticized the tax cuts, saying that “There is no magical growth fairy”:

Apparently, the growth fairy union didn’t get Sen. Wyden’s memo. The economy is strong and strengthening. Sen. Wyden’s hatred of the Trump/GOP tax cuts have blinded him to the benefits people are experiencing.

Dan Henninger’s column makes the case that Nancy Pelosi will be speaker of the House when President Trump delivers his next State of the Union speech. Henninger starts his column by saying “It was impossible not to notice that Nancy Pelosi spent President Trump’s 70-minute State of the Union speech grimly chewing her cheek. She was thinking: ‘What I know, and he doesn’t know, is that history says a year from now I will be speaker of the House, and he’ll be on the brink of impeachment.’ Odds are, she’s right.”

The problem with Henninger’s theory is that the Democratic Party has turned into the elitist party. When Ms. Pelosi called the bonuses “crumbs”, people noticed. Speaking this afternoon at the Republicans’ retreat in White Sulphur Springs, VA, President Trump said “And then we got hit with these corporations giving tremendous bonuses to everybody, the ones that Nancy Pelosi called “crumbs” — that was a bad — that could be like deplorables. Does that make sense? Deplorables and crumbs? Those 2 words seem to have a resemblance. I hope it has the same meaning. But she called it crumbs when people were getting $2,000 and $3,000 and $1,000. That’s not crumbs. That’s a lot of money.”

The reason why I think Henninger will be wrong is because Democrats have become so elitist that they’re totally unlikable. They’re so elitist that Democrats come across as not liking blue collar voters. It’s impossible to like environmentalists and miners simultaneously. It’s impossible to like tons of regulations and be friends of blue collar workers simultaneously. Check this out:

That image of Ms. Pelosi isn’t going away. The ads are already going into production. Next fall, Republicans will ask people if they think $1,000 is crumbs or if it’s a lot of money. The ads write themselves. As juicy as that is, that’s just the appetizer. Jazz Shaw’s post is the ribeye steak entrée:

The phrase “repeal and replace” is coming back into vogue, but this time we’ll be hearing it from the Democrats.

At first glance I had to double check to make sure this wasn’t an article from The Onion. But it’s really published at The Hill and deals with the Democrats’ overarching strategy heading into the midterms and perhaps even the 2020 elections. They’re counting on Americans being so unhappy with their “crumbs” from the tax cuts that they will ask the voters to give them control of Congress so they can repeal and replace the new tax law.

Just speaking from a talent standpoint, Democrats must be total idiots. Why would Democrats think that fatter paychecks, pay raises, bonuses and more generous benefits equal a great opportunity to repeal and replace the Trump/GOP corporate tax cuts?

Republicans should thank their lucky stars for this opportunity. When Democrats explain what they mean by repeal and replace, Republicans should ask Democrats why they’d want to raise taxes on the companies that have given literally billions of dollars worth of bonuses to tens of thousands of people? And if Democrats don’t explain what they mean by repeal and replace, Republicans should pressure them constantly until Democrats explain what they mean.

Mr. Henninger is right. History indicates that Republicans should lose a ton of seats in the House. Then again, never in history has the president’s party run against such a bunch of elitist idiots. I’d just add that patterns are patterns until they aren’t anymore. I suspect we’re watching the death of another pattern. Good riddance.

Give Hostess credit. At a time when a blizzard of companies are paying their employees bonuses, raising their wages or improving their benefits, Hostess conceived of a great idea for their bonuses. According to this article, “The company produces bakery snack cakes such as Twinkies, Ho Hos, Zingers and Sno Balls. Each week this year, a representative from one of the company’s bakeries will choose a different product, which employees will take home in multi-packs, according to Bloomberg. Workers will receive the monetary bonus in the form of $750 in cash and a $500 contribution to their 401k.”

I’m just wondering when some liberals will criticize Hostess for contributing to America’s obesity problem.

It must frost Democrats to read “Hostess is the latest in a string of companies who have said they will use the large corporate tax cut in the new GOP tax law to invest in their workers. Starbucks, Disney, Home Depot, JP Morgan Chase and others have announced wage raises, one-time benefits or other bonuses for employees.”

After reading the article, I posted this tweet:


Later, someone replied:

I’m tired of people giving President Obama credit for the economy’s outstanding performance. I’ll stipulate that President Obama got us out of the Great Recession. I’ll further stipulate that President Obama’s oppressive taxes and regulations kept growth lower than it should have been.

In Ron Brownstein’s article, he states “But growth still may not be a silver bullet for the party. One reason is that polls show that roughly as many Americans credit former President Barack Obama as Trump for the good economy. There’s good reason for that verdict: On most fronts, the economy’s performance under Trump represents a continuation of its improving health over Obama’s second term—not a radical improvement in its trajectory.”

That’s a myth. First, economic growth under President Trump is significantly higher. Art Laffer predicts 4% growth for 2018, thanks in large part to the Trump/GOP tax cuts but also because of deregulation. Economic activity is booming. Another thing that’s happening is repatriation of money kept overseas. Rather than keeping money overseas, multinational corporations are returning that money to the US.

Other companies are giving bonuses or pay raises or both. Most of these companies have said that they’re able to do this thanks to the Trump/GOP tax cuts. Other companies have increased employer contributions to employees’ 401(k)s or assumed more of their employees’ out-of-pocket health care costs.

Those aren’t things that President Obama can claim credit for. Here’s another way of putting it: if this is just a continuation of the Obama economy, why didn’t corporations start their repatriation until almost a year after President Obama left office? Why didn’t corporations hand out pay raises and bonuses until almost a year after President Obama left DC?

Remember when Democrats tried convincing Republicans not to vote for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act because it wasn’t popular? Then, only 20% of people liked it. According a Monmouth University poll that I wrote this post about, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has gained in popularity. When asked “Do you approve or disapprove of the tax reform plan passed by Congress in December?  [Do you approve/disapprove strongly or somewhat?]”, 44% say that they either strongly or somewhat approve of them while 44% say that they either strongly or somewhat disapprove.

That’s after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was enacted. As people experience the benefits of the Trump/GOP tax cuts, the more credit that Republicans will get.

Another obstacle for the GOP is that, unless and until wage growth accelerates for a sustained period, not everyone may view economic conditions the way Trump did when he called the country’s current state a “new American moment.”

That’s already happening. While I agree this is a lagging indicator, it isn’t lagging that much this time. President Trump is a great cheerleader for the economy. People are noticing, which is why consumer confidence is high. This isn’t an obstacle. It’s a highlight for the GOP.

It isn’t a stretch to think that people will credit Republicans for the people’s improved economic situation as they see their situation improve.

President Trump’s first SOTU speech was one for the ages. At times, it was heart-wrenching. At other times, it was jubilant. At still other times, it was sensible. At all times, it was the Democrats’ worst nightmare. The speech lasted 81 minutes. It drew 110 rounds of applause. Optically, it was a terrible night for Democrats.

Early in the speech, President Trump talked about Hispanic and African-American unemployment, saying “Unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low. African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded, and Hispanic American unemployment has also reached the lowest levels in history.” The Congressional Black Caucus not only didn’t applaud. The CBC didn’t register a response:

When people started chanting “USA, USA, USA”, here’s how Rep. Luis Gutierrez reacted:

When President Trump spoke about noncontroversial things like working hard and unifying the nation, here’s how Nancy Pelosi responded:

Mixed into the 110 rounds of applause were lines like this:

So to every citizen watching at home tonight — no matter where you have been, or where you come from, this is your time. If you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve anything.

Meanwhile, Democrats virtually spent the entire night sitting on their hands. The optics really told the story Tuesday night. Republicans applauded President Trump’s accomplishments. They were the optimistic people in the room. Democrats looked like they’d eaten a bag of lemons. They looked like sourpusses the entire night:

The most heart-wrenching part of the speech came when President Trump spoke about 2 couples whose daughters were friends. Here’s that story:

Here tonight are two fathers and two mothers: Evelyn Rodriguez, Freddy Cuevas, Elizabeth Alvarado, and Robert Mickens. Their two teenage daughters — Kayla Cuevas and Nisa Mickens — were close friends on Long Island. But in September 2016, on the eve of Nisa’s 16th Birthday, neither of them came home. These two precious girls were brutally murdered while walking together in their hometown. Six members of the savage gang MS-13 have been charged with Kayla and Nisa’s murders. Many of these gang members took advantage of glaring loopholes in our laws to enter the country as unaccompanied alien minors ?- and wound up in Kayla and Nisa’s high school.

Evelyn, Elizabeth, Freddy, and Robert: Tonight, everyone in this chamber is praying for you. Everyone in America is grieving for you. And 320 million hearts are breaking for you. We cannot imagine the depth of your sorrow, but we can make sure that other families never have to endure this pain.

Trump is right. This shouldn’t ever happen in the United States. Period. Trump is also right in saying that, across the nation, parents’ hearts were breaking with those parents.

This was especially powerful in pushing Democrats into a ‘can’t-win corner’ on immigration. How can Democrats say no to building the wall or ending chain migration or the visa lottery at this point? I suspect that Democrats will try resisting. That’s what they’ve been about since Trump took office.

Potentially, President Trump’s SOTU speech is a game-changer:

According to that survey, the results of which were announced on-air on CNN, 48 percent of respondents said they had a “very positive” reaction to the speech — Trump’s first since taking office. Only 22 percent said they had a “somewhat positive” reaction to the speech, while 29 percent reacted negatively.

The results of that poll came less than two hours after Trump finished delivering his speech, in which he touted the tax cuts and regulatory rollbacks of his first year in office and outlined his ambitions to revitalize the nation’s infrastructure and take on immigration reform.

Sixty-two percent of respondents said that the policies outlined by the president on Tuesday would move the country in the right direction, according to the CNN/SSRS poll. By comparison, 35 percent said they would move it in the wrong direction.

Those aren’t good numbers for Democrats. They’re terrible statistics for Democrats. This won’t cheer up Democrats, either:

This poll isn’t good news, either:

Prior to Tuesday night, Republicans had gained a bunch of momentum. After Tuesday night, Republicans had a ton of momentum going into this new year. If Democrats think they can steamroll the Republicans, they’d better rethink their strategy. Fast.

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Last Monday, Sen. Chuck Schumer had a day from hell. I don’t feel sorry for him. He deserved everything he got — and then some. This week has the potential for being worse for Sen. Schumer. Bill McGurn’s column lays out Sen. Schumer’s nightmare scenario, saying “What if Mr. Trump looked up at the gallery full of Dreamers during his address and said, ‘I have offered a good-faith compromise that would not only resolve your place in America but open to you the precious gift of American citizenship. All I ask is that Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi meet me halfway?'”

Clearly, Democrats prefer having the issue so they can beat Republicans with it. They don’t want a solution, partially for campaign purposes, partially to keep the steady stream of new voters flowing in. Democrats need those new voters because they’re alienating blue collar workers seemingly on a daily basis. (That’s why Ms. Pelosi’s dream of being speaker again is a pipe dream.)

Mr. McGurn introduced another irony into the column by saying “But if Mr. Schumer allows the Democratic zeal for resistance to take the form of rejecting every Trump offer for compromise, Mr. Schumer may well pull off another miracle by making Donald Trump look like the reasonable one in Washington. … Alas for poor Mr. Schumer, his tragedy is to have reached the top at precisely the worst moment, caught between a Republican president who can’t stop demeaning him and a Democratic Party that seems determined to ensure he remains a minority leader.”

Let’s be clear. President Trump has painted Sen. Schumer into a corner strategically. If Sen. Schumer makes a deal with President Trump on immigration, the division within the Democratic Party will grow. If Sen. Schumer doesn’t make a deal with President Trump on immigration, Sen. Schumer will look like an obstructionist. It likely also means Sen. Schumer will be the minority leader through at least 2024.

Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor today to tout President Trump’s accomplishments: