Democrats desperately need Republicans to be the Monopoly Guy. Top hat, monocle, tuxedo, canvas bag with dollar sign tucked beneath the arm. They need Republicans to be out of touch, manners obsessed, Brandy-swilling yacht dwellers who think Ariana Grande is something their servants order at the Starbucks. A Country Club Republican like that is easy to beat—think 2012 Mitt Romney and the now infamous 47 percent fiasco.
Those days are in the rearview mirror, and — sorry Democrats — they aren’t closer than they appear. The Republican tax bill doubles the standard deduction, raises the child tax credit, and still allows state and local tax deductions of up to $10,000. It will be especially helpful to those who live in states that don’t have confiscatory tax policies and where the vast majority of taxpayers use the standard deduction. Yet, instead of voting to ease the tax burden on their constituents, Democratic Senators from those states decided to maintain party discipline by crashing their careers into the tax reform bill by voting “nay.”
Senators like Joe Manchin (D-WV), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) should add bubble wrap and cardboard boxes to their shopping lists because they’ll be packing up those D.C. offices in 2018. They’ll babble some Democratic talking points about tax cuts for the rich, the bill was rushed, or the process wasn’t bipartisan, but that nonsense is destined for deaf ears. Politicians can lie to their constituents about a lot of things, but they can’t trick people about the numbers printed on their paychecks or the fatness of their wallets.
Senator Joe Manchin tweeted that “anything that is done in such a strictly-partisan way is not good for #WV or the country as a whole.” Really? Over 80 percent of West Virginians use the standard deduction, but doubling it won’t help them because no Democrats voted for the bill? That’s like saying the Powerball jackpot won’t help somebody because they purchased a ticket at the BP instead of the Shell. But voting “nay” on tax cuts for West Virginians will definitely help Manchin in the state’s blue counties. Here’s a list of those:
1. Let’s see…
2. …55 counties in West Virginia…
3. …One of those suckers must be blue…
Senator Heidi Heitkamp took the stage at a Trump tax reform rally in North Dakota back in September. She knows she’s vulnerable in 2018. She knows Trump won her state by a massive 37 points. But Heitkamp voted against the bill anyway and tweeted that “it will hurt ND in the long-term.” Except about 81 percent of North Dakota residents take the standard deduction, and after it doubles (thanks, GOP), that number will probably be a stone’s throw away from 100 percent. So, almost ever North Dakota will keep more of their income. Why is that bad, Senator?
Joe Donnelly voted against it “because it overwhelming benefits the wealthiest instead of middle class families and does not protect American jobs.”
According to CNN exit polls, in 2012, among voters with incomes less than $100,000 nationwide, Trump outperformed Romney by 6 points. In Indiana, Trump did 19 points better in that demographic than Romney. A swing like that should have Senator Joe Donnelly sleeping with the lights on and checking under the bed for the 2016 electorate. Now he’s relying on the same tired talking points to reverse that trend? His party ran over the middle, and he’s trying to fix it by throwing the car in reverse. Indiana isn’t feeling the leftist economics anymore.
Claire McCaskill has complained about the bill using all the above talking points. Right after the vote, White House reporter Jim Stinson tweeted, “Republicans and PACs already emailing me about Claire McCaskill’s negative vote on tax reform. You shoulda voted for it.” Her only hope of winning another term is a second coming of Todd Akin whose gaffe-tastic “legitimate rape” comments handed her the seat to begin with.
Talking points like these may have worked the last time these Senators were elected, but the 2016 electorate roundly rejected them. In red states across the country Democratic talking points on wages, jobs and taxes are merely the relics of an age where the NFL’s biggest worry was replacement referees and the worst thing coming from the Korean peninsula was Gangnam Style.
In the end, Manchin, Heitkamp, Connelly, McCaskill and the rest of the red state Democrats who voted against tax cuts put Democratic Party discipline over their constituents. In 2018, they’ll pay the price.
Eddie Zipperer is a political science professor at Georgia Military College.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.