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Republican Candidates Would Rather Campaign on Fear Than Tax Cuts

"We wish it got the pitch forks out and it doesn’t."

|||Wael Alreweie/Dreamstime.comWael Alreweie/Dreamstime.comTax cuts and other fiscally conservative positions are in the backseat of Republicans' 2018 campaign rhetoric. In fact, the Associated Press (AP) found in a new report that tax cuts have been replaced by something much more alarming: fear.

In December 2017, President Trump signed off on tax-cut legislation that he promised would lead to positive outcomes "for businesses, for people, for the middle class, [and] for workers." Following passage of that legislation, reports indicated that as many as 90% of employees nationwide would take home more money as withholding rates were lowered. The tax cuts were hailed as such a success that Lowe's announced it would give bonuses and expand benefits packages in response.

One would think Republican candidates might campaign on these tax cuts, but it appears more are interested in playing up their constituents' fears of immigration, socialism, and House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.).

"We wish it got the pitch forks out and it doesn't," GOP ad maker Will Ritter told the AP in reference to the shift from promoting economic policy success to fearmongering.

In July, at least two congressional Republican candidates in states that don't touch the southern border gained national attention for their heavily Trump-centric ads. Jason Emert of Tennessee created his own version of a 2013 insurance ad featuring the disgraced former University of Tennessee coach Butch Jones. Unlike Butch Jones, Emert promised, "When I say I'm going to do something, I actually mean it." Emert went on to pledge his support to the president and his tough immigration policies by literally building a wall in his own yard.

Later in the month, Rep. Ron DeSantis (R—Fla.) released a campaign ad where his wife insisted he was "so much more" than just a Trump supporter. DeSantis demonstrated this by using a "Make America Great Again" sign to teach his children how to read and also building a physical wall with them in the middle of their living room. Unlike Emert's wall, however, DeSantis' wall was created with toddler building blocks.

The heavy focus on the wall signals a shift away from fiscal conservatism not just as a campaign talking point, but as a policy goal. Just weeks before Trump's inauguration, Congressional Republican leaders revealed that U.S. taxpayers would have to pay for a border wall, with one estimate putting the price of the first phase at $18 billion. That does not include maintenance costs, which would be an additional $48.3 billion during the wall's first decade. Both estimates are likely too low, as the Cato Institute found they rely on "unrealistically cheap construction costs."

The tribalistic fears that Republicans are running don't connect well on paper, but Republicans are tying them together regardless and hoping the emotional impact will overshadow the intellectual dissonance. Rep. Claudia Tenney (R—N.Y.), for example, has released several ads tying Democrat challenger Anthony Brindisi's "dangerously wrong" views on immigration—including claims that he desires open borders—to alleged support for Pelosi. Tenney only mentions tax cuts in one of her ads, and only after accusing Brindisi of supporting Pelosi. Brindisi, who has already announced that he would not support any bid from Pelosi to lead the party in the future, responded to the strategy by saying, "I'd think after almost two years of being in Congress, the first advertisement that my opponent would run would be something about her accomplishments."

Photo Credit: Wael Alreweie/Dreamstime.com

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  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Republican Candidates Would Rather Campaign on Fear Than Tax Cuts


    Maybe they know something some of us only suspect: that the tax cuts are a sham. So better to scare the sheeple with apocalyptic images of roving bands of Mexican rapists and Chinese treasury bond buyers, also rapists, raping everyone in the ass, and socialism, than to explain the ballooning deficit and the tax cut-offsetting tariffs that the Mercantilist-in-chief imposed on us.

  • vek||

    You know, there is more to the world than taxes right? I'm all for lower taxes, and smaller government. But things like not allowing your civilization to be destroyed via mass immigration matter to most sane people too.

    Illegal immigrants are net negative tax contributors, commit crime at higher rates than all native born Americans other than black Americans (but I think we can all agree the level of criminality in the black community is not an acceptable bar), and their anchor baby kids then get to vote to remove even more of our freedoms! What isn't to like about that? Between a cheaper lawn guy or saving my civilization, I'll pay more to have my lawn mowed. It's a pretty reasonable position really.

    Also, fear mongering against socialists of any kind is certainly a valid thing too. Cuz socialism killed over 100 million people last century.

  • Elilis Wyatt||

    But things like not allowing your civilization to be destroyed via mass immigration matter to most sane people too.

    How many "sane people" have failed US History?

    Illegal immigrants are net negative tax contributors, commit crime at higher rates than all native born Americans other than black American

    Both are lies. They pay the same taxes as anyone, but are denied benefits and not just the "safety net" They subsidize Social Security and Medicare by billions, as reported annually by IRS. The reason their crime rates are lower is fear of deportation.

    Also, fear mongering against socialists of any kind is certainly a valid thing too.

    Only if one lies about what it is, and where it's practiced.

    Cuz socialism killed over 100 million people last century.

    Cuz how many of those were in Sweden, Denmark and Norway?

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Dumbfuck Hihnsano burping out his ignorance.

  • vek||

    "Both are lies. They pay the same taxes as anyone, but are denied benefits and not just the "safety net" They subsidize Social Security and Medicare by billions, as reported annually by IRS. The reason their crime rates are lower is fear of deportation."

    You're full of shit! Did you ever read my post?

    Crime rates. They claim them to be lower than native born Americans... Which may or may not be true. But even if it is, that's because BLACK AMERICANS are counted as native born Americans. Which they are. However their crime rates are through the roof. They commit half the murders in the US, yet are ~13% of the population. That is NOT an acceptable bar to compare against. Get it?

    So remove black crime rates, and illegal immigrants crime rates are vastly higher. In short if illegal Mexicans move into a neighborhood and displace native born whites, Asians, Jews, etc the crime rate in that neighborhood will skyrocket. If they displace blacks it will actually go down! But doing better than blacks is not something to be impressed by, because their community is all kinds of fucked up.

    They are net negative tax payers like ALL native born low income people. They don't pay in enough to support the services they use like roads, schools, etc let alone if they received any actual direct welfare. So try again moron!

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Fear mongering often works.

    Your not going to let them Nazis stay in office are you?

  • H. Farnham||

    "Fear mongering often works."

    It's a shame more people aren't afraid of government spending.

  • Headache||

    I know, when Clinton took office the national debt was 2.9 trillion and after 16 years of democrat and 8 years of Rino policies it is 19+ trillion.

  • JFree||

    I am assured that folks will really start getting annoyed when it hits $50 trillion.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    There will be another civil war by then.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Cool new picture of picket border fence.

    If only reason thoroughly discussed gutting social security, Medicare, the military, and welfare there would be billions in savings to pay for the Mexican border wall.

  • mtrueman||

    We've already decided that Mexicans are going to pay for their wall. The savings in medicare, military etc would be better spent on beer, smokes and other things we like.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    No straws though? I like straws.

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    I'd happily give Trump the border wall and throw in an increase to ICE for that deal (I am against both). Your move Trump., you got 1 extra person who will sing your praises and never make another disparaging remark about you. But all spending cuts first; signed, sealed and delivered.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Re: loveconsti... fvcking liar,

    If only reason thoroughly discussed gutting social security, Medicare, the military, and welfare there would be billions in savings to pay for the Mexican border wall.


    So much for "and Mexico will pay for it".

  • Jerryskids||

    Looks more like a snow fence to me. It fits the technical definition of a barrier but it serves no function there. Maybe if it were on the Canadian border.

  • Elilis Wyatt||

    If only reason thoroughly discussed gutting social security, Medicare, the military, and welfare there would be billions in savings to pay for the Mexican border wall

    Do neither and pay down debt.
    Libertarians would not "gut" any of that, largely because your dictatorship is goofy. We'd privatize it, since that's what people want, and have always been willing to pay for.

    Only today's GOP would "gut" programs that people want -- and have always paid for -- to build a wall that "nobody" wants. Pay down your damn debt.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Re: David Nolan,

    They really have nothing outside their own base, and may pay a stiff price for not broadening their support.


    There's no question that what's left is the Trumpista base who want the wall (and... that's it, that's what they really wanted), but that base is not big enough to stem the tide of dissatisfied voters who weren't enthusiastic about Hitlery in 2016 but nevertheless are disgusted by Trump and his racist rhetoric, his imbecilic mercantilist views and his lies. So what else do you have except to excite the base with even more anti-immigration rhetoric, more lies and more nationalist propaganda?

  • Freddy the Jerk||

    Hoffer also said something to the effect that power attracts people who want to control other people's lives because they have no lives of their own. And *that*'s why there will never be a libertarian President -- libertarianism resonates with people who are self-determined and usually successful. (Myself excluded of course.) Being left alone is really all those people want from their government.

    Bonus points for the Hoffer reference BTW. That guy was really a piece of work, in a good way.

  • Freddy the Jerk||

    Found the quote: "A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business."

  • buybuydandavis||

    The fear, hatred, and resentment of identity politics is all the Left has.

  • Ben_||

    We already got tax cuts done. Candidates run on what they're going to do in the future.

  • Jerryskids||

    Of course they're running on the Trumpier-than-thou platform, it's not like they can run on repealing Obamacare again. They have to wait until the next Dem president is elected before they can recycle that one.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Left - Right = Zero"

    Bwahahaha! A Hihn fanboy!

  • Freddy the Jerk||

    Hint: Hihn is his own biggest fan. Wink wink nudge nudge, say no more.

  • buybuydandavis||

    I was wondering, but come on, I thought that was too pathetic even for him

  • Freddy the Jerk||

    This is a libertarian website, but with an alt-right commentariat.
    Bullshit. Plain, unmitigated bullshit. Take your crap somewhere else Hihn. Go call the Breitbart commenters Nazis, just get the hell out of here.

    FYI, this is a SJW website with a libertarian commentariat.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Bingo.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "1) Right and left are obsolete"

    No
    They're just the names we give to the two poles of political values that naturally arise in democracies, and in particularly the non parliamentary democracies.

    The poles can shift, but we'll be calling one right and one left.

    The poles *have* shifted. Left and Right are realigning to globalists vs. nationalists.

    As for Republicans in the bedroom, you're living in the past. It's the Democrats busy regulating sexual interactions everywhere. The only thing Republicans want to regulate is abortion, which is not about sex but the treatment of an embryo.

    And it's the Open Border crowd who are anti liberty, advocating the destruction of any moderately free country through unlimited immigration from unfree countries. America is America because of the people who live in it. Flood America with Not Americans, and it becomes Not America.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Dumbfuck Hihnsano knows about lying because he does it all the time.

  • Mr. JD||

    Emotion trumps reason in elections, every time.

    Democrats have been abusing that fact for years, and now Republicans are getting in on the game.

    Play or lose.

  • JFree||

    Yes you're right that emotion trumps reason in elections. More accurately - instinct trumps thought. Has since roughly World War 1.

    You're wrong if you think that one party has been doing that and the other hasn't. They have both been doing that - as have pretty much all advertising and public relations firms - since roughly World War 1.

    And it's not really about 'abusing' anything. It is about a)understanding that all humans are animals, b)understanding how our brains work, and c)understanding how those can be manipulated via mass communications.

    Basically apply the techniques of how to domesticate herd animals - in order to domesticate and manipulate herd humans.

    The only reason you think now Republicans are getting in on the game is because they have now succeeded in triggering your herd instinct.

  • JFree||

    The only parties that haven't been playing the emotion/instinct game are third parties.

    Tap into the instincts that make people want to be free individuals - focus on the two or three issues of the particular moment that most threaten that - and L's could quite easily do as well as previous third parties in 1992, 1968, and 1912.

    There's good reason why L's mistrust the mob/herd. There's no reason why L's should mistrust our basic animalness - cuz that is where the desire for liberty originates.

  • Dillinger||

    >>>[campaign ad] where his wife insisted he was "so much more" than just a Trump supporter.

    too stupid to mock.

  • Eddy||

    Who knows what will work?

    Who knows what Trump and the Republicans are up to?

    Whatever it is, it's not very inspiring. Except the part about not being Democrats.

    That just requires a few basic points, like not killing babies and not turning the Supreme Court into the Grand Council of Philosopher-Kings (retarded philosopher kings at that).

  • Headache||

    If you take campaign advice from your opponent, you loose.

  • buybuydandavis||

    ' One would think Republican candidates might campaign on these tax cuts, but it appears more are interested in playing up their constituents' fears of immigration, socialism, and House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.). '

    Trump supporters didn't vote for him for tax cuts. That was the GOP establishment getting what they wanted.

    We wanted a wall. We wanted immigration enforcement.

    We wanted to preserve our freedom from Democrats and their imported voters.

    Immigration is *exactly* what the Republicans should run on. It's the issue that determines all others.

    Too many Not Americans in America, and it becomes Not America.

  • creech||

    All the Dem ads I saw in Penna. and New Jersey were all about fear of Trump, so what's different between the two parties? The AP report cited "fear of Pelosi." I saw "fear of the Koch Bros." in at least one ad. Ox, gored, principals not principles,etc. etc.

  • vek||

    Sooo there's something wrong with running on some of the most important issues in the country, according to voters?

    Fucking idiots.

    Almost nobody in the WORLD wants true open borders. Most people in most 1st world countries support very minimal immigration. And what immigrants should be let in, according to the people, is generally restricted to high skilled professionals. Polls consistently show this. This includes black and brown people in the USA even! Nobody wants to let in unskilled 3rd worlders in endless numbers. Not even legal US born Hispanics.

    Politicians in the USA and Europe have been ignoring the desires of their people for decades, so is it any wonder that they're pissed and want a change in these policies? We can only absorb people into US society so fast. If you let in too many people the immigrants start changing you, instead of the other way around.

    I'm part Mexican and from California myself. What has happened to that state is horrible. It has in fact slid backwards and become more like a 3rd world country than it was when I was a kid. It's all rich people and peasants, the infrastructure is crumbling, nobody there believes in the ideas America was founded on, corruption everywhere, etc. I DO NOT want the rest of country to become THAT. Cutting down on illegal immigration will help with that, so I'm all for it.

  • JBSparks||

    A porous border is exponentially more dangerous than open cockpit doors. Let's not wait until Islamo nut jobs smuggle WMD's across it into our cities and then cry, "If we only had a secure border!"

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