Tax cuts for ordinary families – averaging $18 a week for the middle-fifth of American earners – have proven so small that many remain unaware of receiving them at all. That explains Trump’s impromptu pre-election promise of a new 10 percent tax cut for the middle class.
Ballooning deficits make that unlikely. GOP congressional leaders now say those deficits require curbing Social Security and Medicare, something Trump promised not to do.
Divergent messages for different parts of the Republican coalition can create intraparty conflict. In 2017, sympathy Trump expressed for white supremacist marchers in Charlottesville, Virginia, produced such a backlash that Schwarzman and other business leaders disbanded a White House advisory council.
Battling for endangered suburban seats, one GOP leader recently blasted longtime Iowa Rep. Steve King over his criticism of diversity and links to the far-right fringe.
“We must stand up against white supremacy and hate in all its forms,” declared House GOP campaign chair Steve Stivers.
Wall Street executives, despite the robust economy, have shifted their campaign giving. In 2014 midterm elections, 62 percent of securities and investment industry donations went to Republicans; this year, 53 percent have gone to Democrats, according to the money-in-politics website opensecrets.org.
Yet other wealthy beneficiaries of Trump’s tax cut and deregulation policies keep financing Republican culture war messages. The insurance, retail, gambling, and oil and gas industries have all given a large majority of their donations to Republican campaigns in 2018.
Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, whose company, Las Vegas Sands, reported a $670 million tax cut windfall in just the first quarter of the year, and his wife Miriam have given $50 million to the Ryan-linked Congressional Leadership Fund. Schwarzman gave $2.25 million in August, and another $1.5 million last month.