Republicans in Congress are pushing plans for their most unpopular ideas, even as the party faces major challenges in upcoming elections.
Congressional Republicans have released an election year proposal targeting massive cuts to government programs that millions of Americans, including the poorest people, have relied upon.
“A Framework for Unified Conservatism,” the proposal from the Republican Study Committee (RSC), a coalition of more than 100 conservative House Republicans, comes as the party faces the prospect of losing seats because of the unpopularity of the Trump administration.
Since Trump’s election, the party has already been forced to defend seats that have overwhelmingly favored Republicans in the past, and has lost statewide elections in Alabama and Virginia.
But still, the new RSC plan pushes for doubling down on many of the party’s least popular ideas, and further associates Republicans and conservatives with proposals that are extremely cruel.
The framework contains an attack on two of the most popular government programs: Social Security and Medicare. The Republicans often try to portray themselves as allies of the social safety net, their new plan would end the promise of Social Security for Americans that turn 65, pushing them to wait until age 70 to receive their benefits. In addition, the plan calls for raising Medicare eligibility to age 70, while also privatizing portions of the program.
Another one of the major ideas in the plan is to make the recent tax cuts targeted toward millionaires and billionaires permanent. However, the tax bill legislation, commonly called the GOP tax scam, has never been popular. Ad campaigns promoting the bill failed to stop Democratic candidates from winning elections in more than one deeply red state already.
And, of course, the plan also calls for a repeal of Obamacare, something the Republican Party has threatened for years but has never delivered on. The previous GOP attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would have taken away health insurance for millions, could not pass Congress despite the Republican majorities. Republicans campaigning in 2018 have quietly stepped away from this language.
Every idea in the proposal has been one that a majority of Americans has rejected in either opinion polling or at the ballot box. It is extremely unusual for the party to embrace such unpopular ideas while it is working overtime to defend dozens of congressional seats it easily won two years ago.
Apparently, conservatives in the House believe the manner in which Trump is dragging down the ticket isn’t enough. Now, they are pushing for the party to embrace an entire slate of ideas that are dead on arrival.