Republicans Can’t Fail on Tax Cuts

New York Times: “Given the swirling tumult, one political and legislative reality is suddenly becoming crystal clear: Republicans must deliver a tax cut or face an epic backlash that would pose a significant threat to their governing majority and long-term political health.”

“After Republicans were unable to fulfill their longstanding promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the tax cut proposal is the only remaining game in town for the struggling majority and its allies on K Street. The inability to enact a tax cut — an idea that nearly all Republicans support in theory while differing on the details — would represent a monumental failure.”

“The party would have virtually no argument for re-election in 2018 and Senate and House incumbents would be wide open to challenge from both the right and the left.”

Small Donors Help Fill the GOP Coffers

Washington Post: “In giving to support Trump, his backers are pouring tens of millions of dollars into the coffers of the Republican National Committee, which has raised more from small-dollar contributions at this point in the election cycle than the national party has collected in more than a decade.”

“The low-dollar donations are helping fuel a massive fundraising advantage for the RNC, which has pulled in nearly twice as much as its Democratic counterpart this year.”

“The GOP’s success with small donors illustrates how the Republican Party, long a center of the political establishment, has managed to turn Trump’s anti-Washington message to its advantage.”

Poll Shows Growing Dissatisfaction with Republicans

A new USA Today/Suffolk University poll finds that voters’ assessment of the Republican Party has plummeted to 62% unfavorable/23% favorable, significantly changed from the 55% unfavorable/32% favorable registered in a June poll.

The Democratic Party recorded a 48% unfavorable/37% favorable rating in the most recent poll.

Said pollster David Paleologos: “The Republican Party is in freefall. In March the GOP had a 48% unfavorable rating, in June the negative swelled to 55%. Today the GOP unfavorable is 62%. What’s next?”

Trump’s Foreign Policy Splits the Republican Party

A new Chicago Council on Global Affairs poll finds that President Trump’s “most fervent supporters solidly support his foreign policy views, but Republicans with less favorable impressions of the president are far less enthusiastic and are more closely aligned in their attitudes with the overall population.”

“The survey also underscores the degree to which Trump, despite the bully pulpit of the White House, has been unable to shift public opinion in his direction on foreign policy issues. In fact, the opposite has occurred. Public attitudes have moved away from a number of the positions he espoused during his campaign and since.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“If the party can’t be fixed, I’m not going to be able to support the party. Period. That’s the end of it… But have I given up? No.”

— Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), in a CNN interview, saying a time could come when he no longer supports the Republican Party.

GOP Bets Everything on Tax Reform

Karl Rove: “Passing tax reform has now become an existential imperative. The electoral disaster that might visit Republicans if they can’t get tax reform done ought to galvanize leaders at each end of Pennsylvania Avenue and reinforce a bit of old wisdom: that the perfect should not be allowed to be the enemy of the good.”

The GOP’s Nightmare Scenario

Mike Allen: “Some conservative Republicans worry about a ‘nightmare scenario’ for the party: no health care repeal, no tax reform — and the party’s top two accomplishments of this Congress are a ‘bailout’ for insurance companies (fixes to the Affordable Care Act), and ‘amnesty’ (Dreamer legislation).”

“That would depress Republicans and excite Democrats — the surest formula for the GOP to blow its majorities.”

GOP Faces an Insurrection

New York Times: “Republicans are confronting an insurrection on the right that is angry enough to imperil their grip on Congress, and senior party strategists have concluded that the conservative base now loathes its leaders in Washington the same way it detested President Barack Obama… Mr. Strange’s demise, senior party strategists and conservative activists said Wednesday, makes it likelier that Republican incumbents in the House and Senate will face serious primary challenges in 2018, fueled by anger at the party’s apparent ineptitude at wielding power in Washington.”

“Republicans increasingly worry that their base’s contempt for Mr. McConnell is more potent than its love for Mr. Trump. Mr. McConnell could be an anchor around incumbents in the same fashion as Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, who is routinely used to undermine Democratic candidates.”

Politico: Bannon’s next move: Repeat Alabama.

The GOP Identity Crisis

Rich Lowry: “The Republican Party can’t pass Obamacare repeal but it can nominate Roy Moore.”

“This is the state of the GOP in a nutshell. It is a party locked in mortal combat between an establishment that is ineffectual and unimaginative and a populist wing that is ineffectual and inflamed. It is rare for a governing coalition to have a bitter factional fight—usually the party out of power deploys the circular firing squads — although, on the other hand, this particular coalition isn’t doing much governing.”

“By the hard numbers, Republicans are in robust good health. They have unified control of the federal government and the most governorships and state legislative seats since the 1920s. Conservatives control the Supreme Court. Yet, Trump’s ascendance created an identity crisis in the party that hasn’t been resolved, and the hope it could be papered over with legislative accomplishments and signing ceremonies has come a cropper.”

GOP Anti-Establishment Wing Declares All-Out War

“The stunning defeat of President Trump’s chosen Senate candidate in Alabama on Tuesday amounted to a political lightning strike — setting the stage for a worsening Republican civil war that could have profound effects on next year’s midterm elections and undermine Trump’s clout with his core voters,” the Washington Post reports.

“The GOP primary victory by conservative firebrand Roy Moore over Sen. Luther Strange could also produce a stampede of Republican retirements in the coming months and an energized swarm of challengers.”

Axios: Sen. Bob Corker, a mainstream Republican, announced his retirement today, and several other sitting Republicans are facing primary challengers from the right. So will there be a populist surge in 2018 GOP primaries?”

Bannon vs. the GOP

Politico: “In a thundering 20-minute speech Monday night that was partly a rally for insurgent Senate candidate Roy Moore but equally a declaration of war on the Republican Party hierarchy, Bannon made clear that this next act of his political career could make the Republican civil war of recent years look tame.”

Said Bannon: “Mitch McConnell and this permanent political class is the most corrupt and incompetent group of individuals in this country. They think you’re a pack of morons. They think you’re nothing but rubes. They have no interest at all in what you have to say, what you have to think or what you want to do.”