Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist appeared more upbeat about the prospects of the Republicans Party than most DC-based Republicans Wednesday morning following Super Tuesday.
The tax cut activist likes the “pro-growth” tax plans of all the candidates and sees the situation as win-win no matter who becomes the GOP nominee.
“If there’s one thing that unites the modern Republican Party is we never raise taxes. We’re for cutting them in a pro-growth way. The most cheerful part of this whole campaign is to watch all the Republicans go we’re never raising taxes and we’re going to have a significant tax cut,” Norquist told The Daily Caller during an interview at his Washington office.
“What you saw last night was a jump in Republican turn out from four and eight years ago that was dramatic in every single state, I think, except Vermont and the D’s had a decline, in many cases over the last four and eight years,” he said.
Norquist continued, “You’re talking about an expanded Republican base and an expanded Republican vote and what we now need to do as we continue to debate, it’s not over, there’s still three people who could win—four…but you’ve got three people in the running and one of them will get it. It’s the job of people in the movement to work with these three to make them better at what they do but also keep an eye on Hillary Clinton.”
He believes that Clinton has the Democratic presidential nomination sewn up but that the Republican nominee is still unclear, despite Donald Trump’s tremendous lead. The tax reform activist predicts that Clinton’s nomination will ultimately be the catalyst to unite various factions of the GOP out of fear of a Clinton presidency.
“I had dinner with one of Hillary’s top advisers, Mark Penn eight years ago, when he thought and she though [Obama] wasn’t even a bump in the road. It was the September before she started losing primaries,” said Norquist.
“The whole thing was [he said], ‘We’re gonna get all the women’s vote and that’s how we win the election, because she’s gonna be the first woman and it’ll be like the first Catholic — Kennedy — or the first African American — Obama — and everyone will vote for her because she’s a girl.’”
Norquist says “first woman in history” strategy gave Clinton tantamount to a “dead cat bounce.” Additionally, he notes that young people and women are not buying Clinton’s message, because “her record sucks,” later noting that unlike the GOP candidates she does not have a story to tell because she has to run as an “identity candidate.”
Senate Republicans are reportedly unhappy with Trump being the front-runner. According to The New York Times, Senate Majority Leader [crscore]Mitch McConnell[/crscore] told members of his conference they could run negative ads against the New York billionaire if Trump’s is the nominee and hurts their reelection bids.
Norquist does not find McConnell’s strategy terribly unusual and condones the practice if it is needed.
“Run on your own if you’re a senator or a congressman and if you think our presidential guy is problematic. You should always get yourself elected—rule number one for House or Senate guys—get yourself elected. You can distance yourself from a presidential candidate if in your state that’s necessary,” he said.
He explained, “The Democrats have been running this country with presidential candidates who are often at odds with a good chunk of the Democrat congressmen and senator base. That’s not a surprise or a dirty trick or problematic. What hurt was when Republicans were not allowed to distance themselves from Bush in ’90 and ’92 when he did the tax increase.”
Texas Sen. [crscore]Ted Cruz[/crscore] and Florida Sen. [crscore]Marco Rubio[/crscore] vow to stay in the GOP primary to stop Trump from becoming the nominee and reports that a brokered convention could occur if the senators manage to remain in the race until that time. Norquist says the divisions happening in the party is not surprising.
“Every four years we go through this. ‘Oh my goodness. How are we going to heal the party’s wounds? Reagan/Bush, Nixon/Rockefeller. This has always been the case. A hard fought primary is always helpful if they excite people and then we come together towards the end. I would not be happy if we had done what the Democrats did and picked Hillary Clinton and just ran with nobody else. She has not been tested in this race. She’s been dragged to the left,” he said.