INDIANAPOLIS – Republicans have spent months banking on the McConnell tax plan for midterm success, but they’re finding in reality that it’s not a winning strategy after trying and abandoning a tax message before their loss in a deep-red House district last night.
The weeks leading up to the last night’s special election in Pennsylvania saw a stunning shift, Politico notes. Republican outside groups spent millions on air using the tax plan to promote their candidate in a conservative working class district that should have been their sweet spot. However, in the run-up to the election, Republicans abruptly pulled their tax ads as it became clear that strategy was failing to move the needle among the voters they needed. By election day, fearing an impending loss, Republicans were running no ads featuring tax messaging to support their once-heavily favored candidate.
In real time, Republicans realized that the strategy they’d been banking on in November may not pay off, as Politico describes:
…Other Republicans are beginning to wonder whether the GOP needs to add to its midterm messaging.
“We haven’t looked at the polling they’ve undoubtedly looked at in deciding how to craft their message,” said Club for Growth President David McIntosh, asked by a POLITICO reporter about the strategy shift away from tax reform ads…“You don’t win elections on what you did in the past.”
Despite the positive spin from Republicans like Congressmen Messer and Rokita, there’s now tangible proof that the McConnell tax plan “may not have the vote-moving power Republicans are counting on.” Support for the McConnell plan seems to have stagnated, as a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll also pointed out that few voters are actually seeing tangible benefits in their paychecks as a result of the change in tax code.
“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth, and the tax bill’s failure to resonate with real voters down the stretch in Pennsylvania is a haymaker to the hopes of Republicans like Indiana’s three GOP Senate candidates,” said Michael Feldman, spokesman for the Indiana Democratic Party. “Republicans across the country were crowing about their tax plan’s electoral importance in recent weeks even as they were watching it crash and burn in real time and pulling money out of their ad buys. If their tax bill can’t prevent a disaster in a ruby-red House district, how’s it going to save them in Indiana?”