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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

DCorps On Taxes: Bring It On!

The latest strategy memo from Democracy Corps, based on a survey of voters in 65 “battleground” House districts (25 held by Democrats, 40 by Republicans), argues that Democrats should not fear the tax issue this year. Even though the survey was confined to a Republican-leaning segment of the electorate, DCorps found that (a) Republicans don’t have a built-in advantage on the tax issue, (b) voters are more concerned about tax fairness than about the overall level of taxes, (c) a Democratic tax reform proposal based on sunsetting tax cuts for the wealthy and eliminating corporate loopholes decisively trumps a Republican message of making all tax cuts permanent (even when the GOP message tries to exploit fears of Democratic over-spending), and (d) this is equally true in Republican- and Democratic-held districts.
The DCorps findings are significant in ways that go beyond the tax issue. To the extent that the broader Republican economic message depends heavily on faith in high-end tax cutting as a prescription for growth, Republican weakness on such tax policies could undermine their entire economic pitch.
Like Iraq, supply-side economics is becoming a subject where the demands of the conservative GOP base are in direct conflict with what the broader electorate wants. Those who fear that declining levels of interest in Iraq will help Republicans this fall should be comforted; the changing issue landscape is driving the GOP from one horn of their basic dilemma to the other.

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