Because just 39 percent of poll respondents had a favorable view of the Trump/Republican tax cut bill in an April Gallup poll, the GOP’s biggest billionaire mega-donors are spending $20 million in a new effort to convince more people that they should like the tax law change which gives unneeded tax breaks to billionaires while exploding the U.S. deficit.
Billionaires Charles and David Koch are financing the new program which is a door-knocking campaign designed to convince targeted voters that they really should like the terrible new tax law. There is an extensive network of right-wing groups that are affiliated with the Kochs and are part of what is called the Koch Network.
Back in January Bloomberg reported that “The conservative political network led by billionaires Charles and David Koch plans to spend close to $400 million on policy and politics during the two-year election cycle that culminates with November’s midterm elections, a roughly 60 percent increase over 2015-16.”
And now, according to Bloomberg, they have allocated $20 million of their fortunes to lobby the public to support the tax bill. The program is being run by Americans for Prosperity (AFP), a conservative public-advocacy group that’s part of the Koch Network.
Republicans have so far struggled to make tax cuts a winning campaign issue in 2018, and this may hurt them in the midterm elections. However, according to AFP, “We have the unique ability to bring the message about the benefits of tax reform to people’s doorsteps.”
The problem they’ve run into so far is that people don’t want Koch supporters ringing their doorbells and standing on their doorsteps. One of the door-to-door canvassers in Indiana is Landon Porter. He said often he barely has time to say the words “tax reform” before he gets the door slammed in his face.
This is not an unusual reaction since people are skeptical (and for good reason). “I don’t think my check has changed,” said Linda Meredith, a 52-year-old bartender who Porter had talked to. “The tax changes are going to benefit the rich.”
Most of the $20 million the Koch Network will spend is going for television ads, which AFP has been running in Indiana, Missouri, and North Dakota. Koch and the GOP have decided to go after Democratic senators who are up for reelection this year in those states won by President Trump in 2016.
But according to AFP the door-to-door canvass campaign is an important part of their strategy. As Republicans more and more have concerns that they’ll lose their congressional majorities, they are stressing the tax cuts as their signature achievement. They are campaigning on the notion that if Democrats get back in power the tax cuts will go away, and people will be harmed.
“We knew how important it would be to ensure Americans understood what the tax law meant for them and the economy,” says Tim Phillips, AFP’s president. “With our permanent grass-roots infrastructure, we have the unique ability to convince people about the benefits of tax reform.”
They do have their work cut out for them. Recent studies have shown that a tax law change intended to help small businesses actually helps the wealthy.
The Koch Brothers keep trying to hurt middle class Americans and undermine democracy. They have tried to undermine teachers’ efforts for more funding for public schools and they are trying to privatize the Veterans Administration.
The money they are now spending to convince people to vote against their own economic interests is just one more cynical move by these right-wing billionaires. We can’t afford the tax cuts for the super rich because when we have excessive deficits they will try to cut the social safety net. Because of people like the Koch Brothers it is imperative that we have a Blue Wave this year and throw the Republicans out of power.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.