I wrote a little about how Mitt Romney's child allowance is part of a broader trend. With both the Trump-era right and D's of all stripes pitching voters on direct cash benefits, the GOP doesn't have much of a working vocabulary to oppose them nbcnews.com/politics/meet-…
Ironically, Romney's own famous "47%" remarks were about how conservatives don't like "lucky duckies" with no income tax bill because they get too many refundable credits. Trump proposed sending them a tax return that said "I WIN" instead. That was the end of that.
Similarly, Trump has popularized the idea that just about everyone should get $2,000 checks. But that also makes it harder to attack monthly checks without work requirements as anti-work "welfare," which Rubio and Lee have argued.
The irony here is thick too. As @ArthurDelaneyHP notes, Romney falsely accused Obama of ending work requirements for welfare -- probably the dirtiest attack of his campaign. He's now taking the straw man he ran against and essentially demanding it be law.
But Romney's journey also shows how the party has moved. There's more room for social conservatives, in particular, to make the case that more benefits for the Trump-era working class base will help them form and maintain stable families. They haven't won, but debate is louder.
“It makes me very uncomfortable when these kinds of proposals are being discussed so freely without a lot of pushback," @AngelaRachidi, an AEI scholar who has argued Romney/Biden proposals will discourage work, told me.
But the largest share of the electorate are millennials, and Gen Z is right behind. Most of us have no memory of Reagan at all, and at best minimal recall of Clinton's welfare reform bill. If GOP want to push back, they have to find a way to re-teach their voters these concepts.

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More from @BenjySarlin

1 Feb
Is "Biden quietly pursues enormous policy moves, but country moves on to other stories and Trump continues to drive political coverage" the best case scenario for Democrats in terms of politics/policy outcomes?
At some point some Biden policy is going to drive a big backlash, but it's also possible almost his entire ACA plan could get folded into a COVID bill and barely anyone will notice at this rate, let alone R's.
Another way to frame this thread about Biden's effectiveness is whether 15% of the country going "Oh, BIDEN is president now, riiiiight" is useful to Dems and how long it can last
Read 4 tweets
29 Jan
The country is acutely aware this month how messageboard culture and conspiracies drive people to hurt themselves. Now there's a board culture premised on overnight riches while also pushing true believers to lose money to stop a shadowy enemy. Your alarm bells should be blaring.
The whole point of cons is convincing the marks they're in on it. Imagine Qanon, but you can profit off the rubes' stock positions instead of just selling them YouTube ads while telling them they're part of a revolutionary movement exploiting other rubes.
"But what about [name Wall Street practice?]"

Sure, make whatever point you want about it! I'm not arguing with any of it.

But the default response to the conspiracies right now tearing up the country is: "So you think POLITICIANS and the MEDIA are honest?" It's an easy trick.
Read 5 tweets
29 Jan
Read my brother’s reporting. It’s a fun populist story on the surface, but real people are going to be badly hurt who can’t afford it while the villains in their story will be just fine.
There’s an obvious fairness issue to the Robin Hood restrictions that fires people up and produces takes on the many problems in the economy. But those are abstract points being paid for with ordinary people’s money and amateur options betting is not a substitute for change.
People are glomming onto individual Reddit posts to pretend that everyone is going into the GME push out of altruism and expects to lose money. But the WSB culture is about get rich quick schemes and the house always wins on those eventually.
Read 5 tweets
15 Jan
NEW: Some Democrats in Congress are worried their colleagues might kill them nbcnews.com/politics/congr…
IT HAS COME TO THIS: Traumatized lawmakers are openly worried that far right colleagues might hurt them — not rhetorically, not politically, in the literal sense of the word.

It’s important to note there’s NO evidence. But it’s a crisis in relations.

Multiple Democrats are demanding investigations into suspicions — again, not substantiated — that members aided rioters. At least one R voiced similar fears. They’re scared of Q radicalization. And they’re terrified of getting COVID from anti-mask members. nbcnews.com/politics/congr…
Read 4 tweets
13 Jan
The thing is it seems both extremely impractical and symbolically upsetting to have them there. But they need to have a real conversation about the fact members are worried their own colleagues are potential threats to their lives then.
Yeah the metal detectors are pretty far downstream from the fact members are accusing unnamed colleagues of scouting for the insurrectionists northjersey.com/story/news/pol…
The repeated theme over and over today is that members are scared of their far right colleagues in a very real and physical sense, not metaphorically. This is going to be the actual unity issue moving forward.
Read 5 tweets
12 Jan
I've mentioned how there's no stated mechanism for R's who want Trump gone by 2024 to make it happen, they just kinda pass the buck.

Cheney's what that might actually look like: A wing of the GOP *explicitly* dedicated to purging his influence who can organize around that goal.
Before the party breakdown was, a large explicitly pro-Trump wing, maybe a half dozen explicitly Trump-skeptical or anti-Trump, and then a large amorphous wing that was also explicitly pro-Trump but people largely assumed they were lying.
That was not a formula for non-Trump R's to confront the fact he's the dominant figure moving forward. Unless they could name their cause and objectives, they would be continuously outflanked and bullied by pro-Trump R's. Indeed that's what happened with the EC votes.
Read 4 tweets

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