Republicans’ Disdain for Trump’s Base Oozes Into Tax Plan

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

House Speaker Paul Ryan defends the GOP tax plan on Capitol Hill on November 7, 2017.

Every tax plan has winners and losers, and the House Republican tax plan is no different. The wealthy continue to prosper and the middle class gets the scraps. Everyone else? “The losers are going to lose badly,” says the Center for American Progress’s tax expert Seth Hanlon.

But what happens if Trump’s strongest supporters are the losers losing badly? A Voter Study Group/Democracy Fund report published earlier this year identified five distinct groups of Trump voters. Trump and the GOP risk alienating two groups with their proposed tax plan, the “American Preservationists” and the “Free Marketeers,” who together make up 45 percent of the president’s base.

According to the study, the “American Preservationists” are mostly made up of white working-class Americans, Trump’s core constituency. This group is the poorest of his supporters: More than half of them earn less than $50,000 a year. Embracing a nativist and ethnocultural conception of American identity, they staunchly oppose all forms of immigration and helped carry Trump through the Republican primaries last year.

The second group is the “Free Marketeers.” These wealthy, college-educated voters went strongly for Mitt Romney in 2012. (The median income of a Trump supporter during the 2016 primaries was $72,000, according to an analysis by FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver; one-quarter of Free Marketeers earn more than $100,000 a year.)

Although most American Preservationists won’t get much from the tax bill, the people who do get hit will get hit hard. The Republican plan eliminates medical expense deductions, which allow taxpayers to deduct medical costs that exceed more than 10 percent of their adjusted gross income. Only 6 percent of taxpayers use this deduction, but it is a vital one for seniors and people with chronic or disabling medical…

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