by John Young
Those Republican branding wizards. You've got to give it to them: "Pro-life." "Real America." "Family values."
Can't defeat those.
As we enter a new year, however, Republicans are dealing with these brands: "Trump"; "McConnell-Ryan Congress"; "Tax cuts for the super-wealthy."
Trump: the least truthful, least honorable, least ethical president in history.
McConnell-Ryan: the least popular iteration of the least popular institution in America.
GOP tax cuts: $1.5 trillion in new debt to make the obscene wealth of a few Americans even more obscene. Meanwhile, those with very little continue to suffer.
Go ahead. Sell any of those to the masses.
How unpopular are the Republicans entering 2018, an election year?
A CNN poll finds that in a generic congressional ballot, Democrats lead by a stunning 18 points – 56 percent to 38 percent.
Fivethirtyeight.com says that's the most dismal figure for a majority party in Congress since the 1938 election cycle. That is why, the publication reports, the 2018 elections could be not so much a wave as a flood.
More and more voters perceive that our nation is being run by and for profit-driven jackals who have put self-interest ahead of the public interest.
The least believable claim of Trump's not-to-be-believed occupation of the White House is that he won't benefit personally from the new tax law.
Trump won't release his tax returns to let us see how much of a lie he's told us. But one person who knows what's in those returns is Robert Mueller. Maybe he'll let us in on those things.
In terms of political expedience and ultimate cost, the Trump tax cuts are reminiscent of the invasion of Iraq. We didn't invade Iraq because we needed to. We did it because we could. Similarly, Republicans cut taxes in 2017, not because the economy was hurting or our corporations sagging. They did it because no one could stop them.
This includes all that debt, which immediately is being spun as a reason to further carve away at important human services.
A big question in 2018 will be extending the Children's Health Insurance Program. Sen. Orrin Hatch says we can't afford to do that. So, how much does it cost? About $8 billion. So how, Sen. Hatch, did you find $1.5 trillion in tax cuts for donors and multi-nationals? You didn't find the money? That's right. You chose to cut good health for children instead. Good one.
Speaking of those tax cuts: Trump says average Americans will benefit immensely. One segment certainly won't: the millions who will retain and just who signed up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, though Trump has done all he could to eviscerate it.
The Republicans' revoking of mandated coverage under the ACA is projected to drive up premiums for those Americans by 10 percent.
Trump has said the ACA has been vanquished. Really? Millions of Americans will owe their health coverage to the ACA in 2018. That includes young adults who are still on their parents' policies. That includes people with pre-existing conditions who otherwise would be out in the cold. That includes millions still covered by expanded Medicaid.
Did we say that 2018 is an election year? Yes, it is, but in 2017 we've had a smashing preview to what Trumpian policy has wrought: tidal Democratic victories in Virginia, New Jersey, Washington State, and that sweetest of results: the Senate defeat of Roy Moore, a scoundrel even before the scandals that dogged him in defeat.
In 2017, when it appeared outrage was dead, outrage in fact flooded the streets – the Women's March, the counter protests to racist goons, the March for Science, and the parade of all those voters to the polls to send a message to Trump and his enablers.
Get ready to see "real America" at the polls next November.