Campaign Finance & Elections

Study Finds Trump Supporters Are Actually Less Likely to Be Affected by Trade

A fascinating working paper by Gallup’s Jonathan Rothwell yields a surprising result: “There appears to be no link whatsoever between exposure to trade competition and support for nationalist policies in America, as embodied by the Trump campaign.”

“…those who view Trump favorably are disproportionately living in racially and culturally isolated zip codes and commuting zones. Holding other factors constant, support for Trump is highly elevated in areas with few college graduates, far from the Mexican border, and in neighborhoods that standout within the commuting zone for being white, segregated enclaves, with little exposure to blacks, asians, and Hispanics.”

“Racial isolation and lack of exposure to Hispanic immigrants raise the likelihood of Trump support. Meanwhile, Trump support falls as exposure to trade and immigration increases, which is the opposite of the predicted relationship.”

 

Republican Candidates Moderate Their Stances on Obamacare

Politico: “A handful of moderate House Republicans in tight reelection contests have done something that most Republicans would consider unthinkable — renounce the GOP catechism on repealing Obamacare as they fight for their political lives. They say they oppose the health law but are reluctant to tear it up completely.”

“The break with party leaders in the deeply contentious health care fight reflects a larger change on the campaign trail throughout the country: For the first time since Obamacare’s passage six years ago, and after House Republicans have taken over 60 votes to try to repeal it, the crusade appears to be losing its fire as a political rallying cry, taking a back seat to worries over national security and the economy.

“…it shouldn’t be mistaken for support of the law: They just aren’t eager to repeal it without a replacement.”

“It’s also living proof of Democrats’ claims — and GOP worries — that it may be impossible to repeal the ACA now that millions of people have gotten benefits for a few years.”

Donald Trump’s New Tax Plan Could Have a Big Winner: Donald Trump’s Companies

Washington Post: “A little-noticed provision in Donald Trump’s tax reform plan has the potential to deliver a large tax cut to companies in the Republican presidential nominee’s vast business empire, experts say.”

“Trump’s plan would dramatically reduce taxes on what is known in tax circles as ‘pass-through’ entities, which do not pay corporate income taxes, but whose owners are taxed at individual rates on their share of profits.”

“They are also a cornerstone of the Trump Organization. On his 2015 presidential financial disclosure report, Trump listed holdings of more than 200 limited liability corporations, which is a form of pass-through.”

“‘It’s a really nice deal’ for Trump and pass-through owners like him, said Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.”

Trump’s Childcare Plan Fails Low-Income Taxpayers

American Enterprise Institute: “In his economic speech yesterday, Donald Trump suggested an outline of his childcare plan: allow parents to fully deduct the average cost of childcare spending from their taxable incomes.”

“One problem with this approach is that in 2015, according to the Tax Policy Center, about 45% of all taxpayers had zero or negative individual income tax. In other words, a large fraction of low and middle income taxpayers already have no tax liability, so providing them an additional deduction on their taxable income to further reduce their tax liability is unlikely to have any impact.”

“If this deduction is not capped, the benefits of this policy will likely be concentrated among upper-middle and higher income taxpayers, who can already reduce their tax liability with the Child Tax Credit and the Child and Dependent Care Credit.”

“Since those with higher incomes are more likely to itemize deductions than lower income taxpayers, tax credits would more effectively help low income taxpayers. Even so, unless tax credits are made refundable, they are unlikely to bring any additional benefits to lower income households who already pay no tax.”

Trump’s Stimulus Looks Just Like Obama’s

Commentary Magazine: “Yesterday, Trump spoke on the Fox Business Network about his plans for the economy and what he said ought to sound very familiar to both liberals and conservatives. He advocated a massive increase in federal spending on infrastructure that would cost anywhere from $800 billion to $1 trillion. Trump calls this a jobs program that will put America back to work. But if you ignore the rhetorical flourishes and stick to what he is actually advocating and how he proposes to pay for it you can call it by another name: stimulus.”

“It was only seven years ago that the newly elected Barack Obama got a Democratic-run Congress to approve his plan to revive the economy. It cost around $800 billion and was supposed to provide “shovel-ready jobs” that Americans needed.”

“So the question for Trump acolytes who now pose as the arbiters of what it means to be a conservative, what is it about Trump’s stimulus that should make it more acceptable to Republican voters than Obama’s?”

Can Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Nominee, Swing the Election?

New York Times: “Mr. Johnson is at roughly 10 percent in recent polls, well above where he was in 2012. The question, of course, is whether it will have any impact.”

“Is This a Lot?”

“Historically, winning 10 percent is an achievement. Since George Wallace won 13.5 percent in 1968, only Ross Perot in 1992 earned more than 10 percent of the vote nationwide. But it’s worth noting that Mr. Perot, while getting 19 percent, did not get a plurality of votes in any state, so he was awarded no electoral votes.”

“Will It Last?”

“Third-party candidacies have a history of fading. Since 1968, all of the major third-party candidates have seen their polling averages decline closer to the election. The problem is that voting for a third party is often viewed as a wasted vote, which more people accept as Election Day draws near.”

“Does It Matter?”

“Whether Mr. Johnson’s candidacy could damage the Trump or Clinton campaign more remains unclear. Polls show no significant difference in the Clinton-Trump margin between those that include Mr. Johnson and those that don’t… For any third-party presidential campaign, there are two big hurdles. Mr. Johnson has already passed the first one: getting on the ballot in every state. The second — getting into the debates — could prove far more challenging.”

The Coming Electoral Crack-Up?

American Interest: “One way to look at this election is as a collision of an irresistible force with an immovable object. This irresistible force is the widespread discontent with the direction of the nation today. The immovable object is the persistent partisan divisions that have prevailed and intensified in presidential, congressional, and state elections over the past twenty years.”

“This partisan deadlock has resulted in an unusually stable electoral map by historical standards. Only three states changed their electoral-college votes between 2000 and 2004; only two did so between 2008 and 2012.”

“This immovable object may prove movable in November 2016…”

“…Trump may be highly competitive in target states with older and less-educated populations, such as Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Together they have 67 electoral votes, without which Barack Obama would not have been re-elected in 2012. It also suggests that Trump’s prospects are significantly less favorable in target states with younger and more-educated populations, like Colorado, Virginia, and North Carolina.”

Infrastructure Investment Gridlock Likely to Continue No Matter Who Becomes President

American Prospect: “One thing that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump can agree on is that America’s infrastructure is an embarrassment.”

“Yet when it comes to the scope and pace of U.S. infrastructure investment, the person moving into the Oval Office may actually matter less than who gets new digs on Capitol Hill.  Despite some noises on the left about infrastructure investment, Congress’s austerity politics continue to put roadblocks in the way of municipalities across the country that are desperate for infrastructure solutions and the dollars to make them happen.”

“There is little currently to suggest that November will bring a seismic shift in thinking from federal lawmakers obsessed with demonstrating their cost-cutting chops to tax-averse voters back home, particularly on issues like raising the federal gas tax.”

“That gridlock, rooted in equal measures of political orthodoxy and fear of voter retribution, merely tosses back to cities and states the thorny question of whether to raise revenues to confront the infrastructure squeeze… some city officials would prefer to see Congress consider structural changes that would allow federal funds to flow directly to cities, eliminating the states as a ‘pass through’ clearinghouse for federal dollars.”

“Congress, too, is full of people who don’t see the utility of sending money to cities, even though most Americans now live in them. Metropolitan regions are the primary engines of economic growth in most states.”

For Democrats, Now May Be the Time for Tax Reform

Philly Inquirer: “Democrats would be wise to take a page from the Republican playbook by making serious tax reform a cornerstone of their political agenda. In fact, there’s no reason Democrats shouldn’t want to put their stamp on comprehensive tax reform. It not only aligns with their commitment to everyday families and businesses; it’s a powerful policy prescription for our still-ailing economy. It’s hard to think of an issue that will play better with voters and do right by them.”

“What does comprehensive tax reform look like?”

“To start, lower rates for businesses and families. The United States holds the unenviable title of highest corporate tax rate among nearly all economically developed countries across the world. That means honest businesses have less to invest back into the levers that grow the economy – equipment, human capital, and other resources.”

“Second, serious reform must uniformly eliminate loopholes and special-interest breaks and subsidies. This is a point Democrats have long championed (albeit with varying levels of sincerity).”

“Finally, comprehensive reform must succeed in simplifying the tax code. At close to 75,000 pages – nearly three times as long as when it was last reformed, 30 years ago – the sheer complexity of the tax system has become a barrier to economic growth. Compliance costs now top $234 billion, a recent analysis by the National Taxpayers Union Foundation found.”

5 Facts About Hillary Clinton’s Candidacy

Pew Research Center: “Here’s a roundup of key Pew Research Center findings on views of Hillary Clinton, her politics and the impact she would have on Washington.”

“1) More voters say they know a lot about where Clinton stands on important issues than say the same about Trump.”

“2) Few voters think gender will hurt Clinton this fall. Only about one-in-ten registered voters (12%) say the fact that Clinton is a woman will hurt her this fall. Most say it will either help her (40%) or not make a difference (45%).”

“3) Supporters and opponents see Clinton’s political views differently.”

“4) Many voters – including many of her supporters – doubt Clinton will change Washington much.”

“5) Democrats feel warmly toward Clinton, while Republican views of her are very cold. Hillary Clinton is a polarizing figure in U.S. politics.”