TIME: Trump’s New Math: Inside the Plan to Flip Blue States in 2020

I spoke with Brian Bennett from TIME Magazine about the Trump campaign’s efforts to expand the map in 2020.

Trump’s political strategists say they aren’t carving out a new path to 270 electoral votes and instead want to run up the score. In the 2016 race, the Trump campaign didn’t have the luxury of time or a huge war chest. “Last time we had a better air game than ground game,” Kushner says. “This time, we’ve had a couple of years to prepare. We’ve refined our data and political operation. We’ve invested $50 to $60 million over the last couple of years to make the data significantly better.”

Not everyone is buying it. Trump’s sagging job approval ratings suggest to many political observers that the map-broadening is a reflection of a search for a long shot way back to the White House. Liam Donovan, a Republican strategist, says that the Trump campaign is right to be trying to get more voters to show up and to branch out into new territory. “There are reasons to compete in all these places,” Donovan tells TIME. But, Donovan says, “he’s not going to win any of these places if he’s still at 43 approval in the RCP average,” referring the average of Trump job approval polls published by RealClearPolitics.

Read the full piece here.

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Bloomberg Tax: Proponents of Renewing Tax Extenders Hope to Catch ‘Last Train’

I spoke to Colin Wilhelm and Stu Basu of Bloomberg Tax about the cloudy prospects for extenders in light of the clean budget-debt deal.

Still, tax professionals tracking the process acknowledge that extenders can only be kept on life support for so long without congressional renewal.

“If it doesn’t happen in September you’re suddenly approaching a two-year lapse,” said Liam Donovan, a principal at the law firm Bracewell LLP. “And staff has indicated that there’s a point of no return for the 2018 tax year.”

Read the full piece here.

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WashEx: Trump struggles to convince Americans he cut their taxes

I spoke with Colin Wilhelm of the Washington Examiner about stubborn public perception of the tax law on the first tax day under the new code.

In fact, about two-thirds of households received tax cuts in 2018, according to an estimate from the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan think tank. Only 6% saw tax hikes.

But the perception that more Americans saw a tax increase than not persists.

“No one really knew if they were going to get a tax cut for the first year, year and a half that it was enacted,” said Liam Donovan, a tax lobbyist for Bracewell and former staffer for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “You already have some of this baked in because this is our second April 15 to come through. Just the sheer length of time from then through now makes the causal link harder.”

Donovan noted that most individuals who received tax cuts got them on an incremental basis, withheld from their biweekly paychecks. Families didn’t get a tangible sign of the tax cuts — there was no single big check in the mail — which likely made it hard for them to keep track of whether they benefited.

Democratic presidential candidates have floated proposals to undo the tax cuts. But Donovan, who saw political parallels between the dynamics of Obamacare and the GOP tax overhaul, thought that would be easier said than done.

“If and when Democrats try to unwind this it comes with a similar risk, in that people don’t like change but that works in both directions,” Donovan said. “Because it’s the devil that you don’t know and the tax system is as winding, and nearly as complex, as the health system.”

Read the full piece here.

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