Check out the time-stamps on these two tweets from Alabama far right political coward Gary Palmer, who represents the rich, white neighborhoods of Birmingham and the suburbs. He's a lifelong ideological wing-nut-- anti-Choice, anti-immigrants, any-gay, anti-health care, pro-gun, pro-nukes, pro-COVID, pro-tax cuts for the rich and... a firm believer that Trump won the election. He's has never had an independent thought cross his mind. Trump won his district last year with 67.0%. All or part of 6 counties make up his district. In terms of the number of voters in each, this list shows that percentage fully vaccinated (the state is 45% vaccinated, one of the worst in America):
Jefferson Co.- 52% fully vaccinated (42.6% Trump)
Shelby Co.- 33% fully vaccinated (69.3% Trump)
Blount Co.- 29% fully vaccinated (89.6% Trump)
Chilton Co.- 32% fully vaccinated (83.3% Trump)
Bibb Co.- 32% fully vaccinated (78.4% Trump)
Coosa Co.- 37% fully vaccinated (66.3% Trump)
Anyway, here are the 2 tweets. Needless to say, Palmer was not one of the 13 Republicans thinking about what was good for his constituents when the infrastructure vote came to the floor. Surprising absolutely no one, he voted against it without hesitation, as you can see in the first tweet:
But you might not gather that from the second tweet, in which he seems to be trying to take credit for the funding ($369 million) included in the bill for Birmingham's Northern Beltline, which would create lots of jobs to build a 52 mile, six-lane loop around the city, connecting every interstate in Jefferson County. Meanwhile, Congressman Palmer is even more opposed to the social infrastructure bill, which includes paid family leave, something he is violently against. Long one of America's most willfully backward states, Alabama isn't even close to being a battleground state. But this recent memo from Global Strategy Group is still something even Alabama politicians should be paying attention to. The respondents are from Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. (Large parts of Alabama share media markets with Florida and Georgia.)
This survey shows that with just 12 months left before the 2022 elections, including paid leave as part of the Build Back Better Act will benefit Democrats and hurt Republicans.
Paid leave has strong bipartisan support. Headed into 2022, voters from across the spectrum support providing paid medical, family, and parental leave for all U.S. workers. In fact, paid leave is the only policy a majority of voters from every party support aside from allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices; with 80 percent of voters overall supporting paid leave for workers with a serious illness (49% strongly support), 76 percent supporting paid leave for workers caring for a seriously ill family member (45% strongly support), and 72 percent supporting paid leave for workers caring for a new child (45% strongly support). Additionally, suburban women-- a must-win audience in the wake of Virginia’s elections-- strongly support paid medical leave (57% strong support) more than any other policy on the table, including allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices (56%), providing universal pre-K (45%), and extending the Child Tax Credit (33%).
Battleground voters won’t wait. They want paid leave passed urgently. More than two-thirds of voters overall, suburban women (73%), independent women (71%), and non-college women (76%) all agree Congress must pass paid leave urgently so U.S. workers can take time off for the care they need, with Democrats in the same camp (89%), bolstering that urgency. Furthermore, these same groups say there is no time for partisan games when it comes to paid leave: suburban women (62%), independent women (59%), and non-college women (58%) believe it must be passed now.
...When Democrats support paid leave and Republicans oppose, Democrats win decisively. Absent any other information about candidates, battleground voters are four points more likely to prefer a generic Republican over a generic Democrat (45% Republican/41% Democrat). But when a Republican candidate opposes paid leave and a Democrat supports, as has historically been the case, Republicans lose their advantage: Democrats suddenly win undecided voters by 17 points.
Democrats who champion paid leave benefit more than those who only support the broader BBB Act. While voters support both paid leave and the Build Back Better Act, voters are more responsive to those who champion paid leave versus the Build Back Better Act. And they are more likely to punish Republicans for opposing paid leave than they are to punish Republicans for opposing the Build Back Better Act.
Perhaps more importantly, though, voters will reward those who champion paid leave at the ballot box. A single statement around how their senator led the charge to pass paid family and medical leave puts Democratic incumbents back into a statistical tie. And conversely, when voters believe their Republican incumbent opposed paid leave, they are more likely to vote against them-- suggesting a tremendous opportunity for Senate Democrats.
How lucky are Republicans that it is two high-profile corrupt conservative Democrats-- Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema-- who are killing paid family leave for them! It could have been a great plank to campaign on. Now it will be muddy and ineffective, as Manchin, Sinema and the whole Republican wing of the Democratic Party continues to crap all over whatever is left of the party brand.
Of course that isn't the only plank that Manchin, Sinema and the Blue Dogs are destroying. Yesterday, David Sirota wrote that thanks-- largely to Manchin, Sinema and House Dems like Josh Gottheimer, Stephanie Murphy, Kurt Schrader, Lou Correa, Ed Case and Henry Cuellar-- clueless congressional Democrats are giving the GOP a political bailout. "By demanding new tax breaks for the rich," he wrote, "Democrats are again helping Republicans portray them as elitists just before a midterm election. The last time Democrats held the presidency and Congress, the party spent its first year in power enriching big banks that had cratered the economy and then letting public money subsidize the Wall Street bonuses of their campaign donors. The spectacle gave Republicans a political bailout in the 2010 midterms, allowing the GOP to depict itself as anti-establishment populists challenging an elitist government. Twelve years later, history is rhyming. Democrats were vaulted into office on popular promises to tax the wealthy, but they are now generating national headlines about their proposal to provide new tax breaks narrowly targeted to enrich their affluent blue-state donors, just as a new survey shows nearly two thirds of Americans see the party as 'out of touch with the concerns of most people.' And now the Republican machine is already gearing up to demagogue the issue in 2022."
The situation is like a storyline from Veep satirizing blue-state elitism: As millions of voters are being crushed by health care costs and higher energy prices, and as Democratic lawmakers have abandoned a $15 minimum wage, Democratic leaders are pushing a regressive proposal to allow wealthy property owners to deduct more of their their state and local taxes (SALT) from their federal taxes.
This initiative, which would provide almost no benefit to the working class, isn’t some small tweak. After Democrats gutted their wildly popular initiatives to expand Medicare and lower drug prices, the tax initiative has now become one of the most expensive provisions in the entire Build Back Better legislation.
The whole initiative seems deliberately sculpted to hand the American Right a weapon to bludgeon Democrats ahead of the election. Indeed, you can imagine it being Fox News’ latest “Entitlement Nation” segment-- only rather than dishonestly bashing poor people, Fox could accurately cast entitled blue-state yuppies as the ones being enriched by this Democratic policy.
...The Biden presidency’s first year began with Democrats saying and at times acting like they had learned the cautionary lessons of the Obama era. They were pushing initiatives to raise the minimum wage, expand Medicare, lower drug prices, and create paid leave. The year is now ending with Democrats’ poll numbers plummeting as they make headlines reneging on those promises and instead demanding SALT tax cuts for affluent locales.
This is a dream scenario for Republicans. Even though they have nothing better to offer, they are getting another political bailout from a Democratic Party that is still captured by its affluent donors.
The GOP seems to sense the opportunity already. Its media and political apparatus is already weaponizing the SALT proposals ahead of the 2022 elections.
The Wall Street Journal editorial page and the Heritage Foundation are deriding Democrats for trying to give new tax breaks to the wealthy. Similarly, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) recently tweeted, “The Democrats’ SALT tax deduction is almost exclusively a tax cut for the rich. They’re out here yelling ‘tax the rich’ while crafting handouts for the wealthy behind closed doors.”
In October, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized “Democrats’ obsession with the so-called SALT cap,” saying: “Even as our colleagues draft the biggest tax hikes in half a century, they cannot resist the concept of special tax cuts for high earners in blue states.”
Democrats could deny Republicans these powerful talking points by leaving the cap in place or at least shrinking down a reform proposal so that it doesn’t so blatantly enrich the super wealthy.
But if Democrats instead follow through and enact their current proposal, the GOP rhetoric is likely a preview of what’s to come in the 2022 election. It could be a redux of some of the Tea Party’s most effective clarion calls during the 2010 midterms.
Only this time around, the GOP claims that Democrats are secretly working to enrich their elite donors would actually be true-- and it will be boosted by millions of dollars of television ads designed to enrage swing voters.
Many of them are already frustrated about Democrats’ betrayals. Democrats now leaning into a tax policy easily caricatured as elitist threatens to turn that frustration into yet another midterm shellacking.
Yesterday, Patriotic Millionaires sent a letter to their supporters complaining along the same lines: "Democrats just can’t get out of their own way. As negotiations around the Build Back Better Act continue, a small group of House Democrats [led by corrupt New Jersey Blue Dog Josh Gottheimer] are undermining their party’s ability to sell the legislation to the American people by including a proposal in the Act to lift the state and local tax (SALT) deduction cap. Doing so would put more money into the pockets of millionaires at the expense of everyday Americans... This change would be a massive giveaway to rich Americans. According to an estimate from the Tax Policy Center, lifting the SALT cap to $80,000 would give about two-thirds of Americans making over $1 million an average tax cut of $16,800 a year. Middle-income households, on the other hand, would get an average tax cut of just $20. Even households making between $175,000 and $250,000 would only get an average of $400 per year. This is a tax cut overwhelmingly targeted to the extremely rich, and that is simply unacceptable. The last people who need government assistance right now are the well-off taxpayers who would be most affected by this change. Wealthy Americans already have so many advantages over everyone else-- it is high time that we pay more, not less, in taxes... If Democrats want to be the party of working people, they need to start legislating like it. They cannot, and must not, pass any tax cuts for millionaires in their reconciliation bill."