Vox’s Dylan Scott reports on a most revealing moment of candor from GOP Rep. Chris Collins of New York:
The House Republican tax overhaul has already made a lot of enemies.
Moderate Republicans from New York and New Jersey worry their constituents would lose big if they can no longer deduct their state and local taxes from their federal tax bill — one of the key ways Republicans are hoping to pay for the corporate tax cut at the center of the plan. Outside groups on the right, like Club for Growth, also object to the bill, saying that taxes for millionaires should be cut even more. Outside estimates project that millions of middle-class Americans could end up paying higher taxes.
Yet the bill is still expected to pass…
Why? Consider this comment from Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), one of those New York Republicans who theoretically might be upset that his constituents would be expected to lose under the GOP bill.
.@RepChrisCollins (R-NY) on tax reform: “My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done or don’t ever call me again.'”
— Cristina Marcos (@cimarcos) November 7, 2017
Rep. Collins’ remarks as reported by Christina Marcos of The Hill are a close paraphrase of what Sen. Cory Gardner, head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told fellow Senators during the health care fight:
Mr. Gardner is in charge of his party’s midterm re-election push, and he warned that donors of all stripes were refusing to contribute another penny until the struggling majority produced some concrete results.
“Donors are furious,” one person knowledgeable about the private meeting quoted Mr. Gardner as saying. “We haven’t kept our promise.”
It’s acknowledged with varying degrees of frankness among Republicans that the failure to accomplish any part of the 2016 GOP agenda other than small and controversial actions by the administration is doing frightful political damage to the party with each passing day. It’s a bizarre situation, in which the party in unchallenged control of every branch of the federal government is suddenly paralyzed by the consequences of what they’ve promised for years–but are only now in a position to deliver. Now, all those harsh policy prescriptions so useful for firing up the right-wing electorate look like career-enders as Americans who cheered on “smaller government” began to understand what that means for themselves personally. The result is a tiny but highly influential Republican donor base fully indoctrinated by the promises conservatives have made outraged that elected Republicans in total control over the government won’t keep them.
The fact that these promises cannot be responsibly kept is beside the point. Republicans now face the politically nightmarish choice of betraying either their wealthy donors or the rest of the country. And there are just not enough rich people to win elections by themselves.
How do you bridge this gap between a platform of political fantasy and reality? Damned if we know, folks.