The Daily Beast: How Donald Trump Somehow Failed to Sell Massive Tax Cuts to Democrats

I spoke to Sam Stein from The Daily Beast about the GOP tax plan and why Red State Democrats have thus far proved resistant.

“My sense is that there is potential for a bit of a cascade should Republicans do the necessary lifting on their own,” said Liam Donovan, a Republican strategist. “It could get you from 50 to 53 or so. Generally I think the pressure is nonexistent until this thing is assured.”

But even then, Donovan added, the defining political feature of the tax debate may very well be that vulnerable Democrats felt such little pressure to support it at all.

Read the full piece here.

I told Sam, and I’d add here, that while Republicans probably could have done more to lure Dem votes, at the end of the day this is a reflection of the current political reality. We are polarized to the point where triangulation yields diminishing returns, particularly when the policy in question isn’t terribly popular. You don’t survive as a Red State Dem in 2017 by being GOP-lite, you do so by sticking to your guns and cultivating an authentic personal brand. The electoral fortunes of these members will hinge far more on macro factors than it will how they voted on any given piece of legislation. And for now at least, the big picture looks ok.

I’d add that I had my doubts from the beginning. From August:

Liam Donovan, a former National Republican Senatorial Committee staffer who now handles legislative and political affairs for the Associated Builders and Contractors, said estate tax repeal — which Republicans have promised to include in their effort — could be floated as a carrot in front of vulnerable Democrats like Manchin, Heitkamp and Donnelly to bring them to the table. Manchin was the lone Democrat to cross the aisle on a 2015 bill to repeal the estate tax.

But, “at the end of the day I don’t expect them to be there,” said Donovan.


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