President Donald Trump has barely bothered campaigning on his party’s massive tax cut, which has been its sole major legislative achievement for the past two years — and some top GOP donors and operatives are seething.
Politico reports that the GOP has all but given up touting its tax cuts on the campaign trail, and is instead trying to rally its voters around culture war issues such as immigration and the treatment of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing.
David McIntosh, the head of the pro-tax cut Club for Growth, tells Politico that he can’t believe Republicans are letting their signature legislation die on the vine while conceding messaging on the issue to Democrats.
“It’s Republicans once again proving the old adage that they are the stupid party,” he complained. “They’ve got a really good issue that they’re not using.”
David Winston, a longtime GOP pollster, said the party has itself to blame for the unpopularity of the tax bill because many workers don’t realize that they’ve even gotten their taxes cut at all.
“I have people in focus groups saying, ‘How come I never heard of this before?’” he told Politico. “What didn’t happen here was people didn’t go out and, on a sustained basis, lay out what was in the bill.”
Another anonymous Republican official said that the GOP made a big mistake in not sending workers a check to demonstrate the size of the tax cut — and instead relied on workers checking to see a relatively small weekly increase in their earnings.
“Had they done what the Bush guys did by making it advance-able and giving everybody a ‘Trump check,’ then maybe people would have had something a little more tangible,” they explained. “Otherwise, it’s like, ‘Take a look at the third line down on your paycheck every other week.’”