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The Issue No One’s Talking About That Could Shake Up the Midterms

Posted on Monday, January 3, 2022
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AMAC Exclusive – By Shane Harris

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With the midterm year officially here, both parties are ramping up their messaging efforts to try and secure majorities in Congress this November. After a turbulent first year in power, Joe Biden and Congressional Democrats are in desperate need of a turnaround to bolster their chances of retaining their razor-thin majorities in the House and Senate. Republicans, meanwhile, are aiming to ride a wave of voter dissatisfaction back into power. To help make sense of it all and break down what storylines may come to define what is already shaping up to be a dramatic campaign season, I caught up with Alex Ayers, a top DC consultant and friend of AMAC who has the inside scoop on what lawmakers are talking about as Congress comes back into session next week. In my interview with him, I break down several key issues that could ultimately decide the midterm elections.

Shane Harris: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me. Let’s get right down to it – what do you see as the biggest issue heading into next year that’s going to define how the two parties frame their messaging and how voters make decisions at the ballot box? 

Alex Ayers: The biggest issue is going to be inflation, but the stark difference is going to be how the two parties view the solution to inflation.

Republicans are going to advocate for less spending. They’re going to say that putting too much money into the economy is what is driving inflation – that there is too much money out there for the demand for goods that exists.

From Democrats’ perspective, they’re going to see it as inflation needs to be solved by making sure that more people have more money. Their solution to that is more government programs, more spending.

And so that is where you are going to see the two sides fighting over inflation.

SH: What are some ways that Democrats will look to try and pass legislation based on their view of inflation or to try and resurrect their credibility with the American people?

AA: You have seen how Build Back Better in its current form is dead. Manchin has said that inflation is a problem and that he tried to negotiate in good faith with the administration and his colleagues, but they just aren’t seeing eye to eye.

But Democrats are still going to have the mechanism of a reconciliation bill at their disposal, and they are going to spend their time trying to figure out what their ability is to craft a bill that both meets Manchin’s demands and does something about inflation, according to their view of how to address inflation.

This is where the issue of the Child Tax Credit, or I should say the expanded Child Tax Credit, comes into play. I think they are going to spend a lot of time on getting some form of that expanded Child Tax Credit passed into law using reconciliation.

SH: That is something that not a lot of people are talking about right now. Could that be a potential problem for Republicans? After all, who wants to come out as against a tax credit for children?

AA: That’s exactly right. The Child Tax Credit sounds good because who wants to be against children? But also, we are a little broad when we talk about what constitutes a “Child Tax Credit.”

What we are talking about with Democrats’ version is a higher amount per month direct check paid from the government to a family every month with no work requirements and no means testing. Any person, no matter how much income they make, is eligible for this check. It is effectively Social Security for children.

That is a much different system than the old Child Tax Credit, which has existed since the mid-90s. That system was actually expanded under Trump in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, where you had the ability to deduct money from your taxes based on the number of children you had, which is actually a very different policy from just sending someone a check every month, as Democrats now want to do. And so it is going to be very hard to argue against the Child Tax Credit because if they have to get very in the weeds to explain it, that means they aren’t doing a good job of messaging.

SH: So, what can Republicans do to make people understand that this isn’t really a Child Tax Credit and explain why it’s bad policy?

AA: Well, that’s the big question. They are going to have to figure out a way to make people understand that the Child Tax Credit they are arguing against is not the Child Tax Credit that has existed for decades; it’s only the one that has existed since the passage of the American Rescue Plan earlier this year. Folks have started to get used to the idea of the IRS sending them a check every month, so that is the tricky part; how do you message something that sounds good on the surface when it’s the nitty-gritty details that make it essentially a free government money program. Details are very hard to explain from a messaging standpoint.

SH: With the campaign season kicking into full swing, will this tax credit be something that is likely to come up in the first few weeks of the new year?

AA: Yes. At a certain point, every Member of Congress has a switch in their head when they go from legislating to campaigning. And typically, a lot of folks are already in that mode or getting close, and once you hit March, you have a really hard time getting Members to focus on legislating rather than being back home trying to get reelected. And so there is going to be a big push in the first 2-3 months of the year to get something done. Especially because of the Child Tax Credit, which expires at the end of the year. And so the checks are going to dry up.

Between those two factors, there will be a big rush in January and February.

SH: Are there any big obstacles that Democrats will have to overcome to move ahead with this plan for a new Child Tax Credit?

AA: Well, it’s not exactly new – this was part of the American Rescue Plan, which was part of the reason Republicans opposed that early on in 2021. They now just want to make that permanent. But the issue for Democrats is, Joe Manchin does have issues with this new version of the Child Tax Credit. He wants to see means testing and work requirements. That will kind of make Republicans’ jobs easier because they have a Democrat who is willing to work with them.

SH: Is this a policy GOP should work with Dems on if Manchin is able to get certain concessions like the work requirement and means testing?

AA: No. Because they had already gotten their version of what they wanted to see the Child Tax Credit look like in 2017. And at the end of the day, Democrats want to spend more, and Republicans understand that increasing the supply side will only worsen the economic problems we are currently seeing. And if Republicans go along, they won’t get any credit for it, which doesn’t help them at all in the midterms.

Also, a lot of the folks I am talking to are saying that by stopping the Child Tax Credit, a lot of people currently relying on government subsidies will realize that they need to now go out and get a job to pay their bills rather than relying on government money. So that may have a huge positive impact on both the supply chain problems we are currently seeing and the labor force participation, in addition to easing inflation. But it’s going to be very interesting just with how much the economy is changing in so many ways.

SH: Are there any other big issues Republicans will be focused on or should be focused on?

AA: There needs to be some amount of focus on everything. The economy is going to be the big thing, but there are still some voters who won’t be going to the polls because of the economy. So, all of it matters, but the economy is going to be the biggest issue.

Quite honestly, so far, we can see this somewhat as a repeat of ’92, that “it’s the economy stupid.” It’s going to be pretty much impossible to say that there are any issues bigger than the economy, but those secondary issues will matter for getting the margins out there, which will help determine who wins.

SH: Are there any opportunities Republicans are missing right now in terms of messaging?

AA: Not necessarily in terms of messaging, but there is one issue that isn’t very well understood and is flying largely under the radar, but that could potentially become a problem moving forward, and that is redistricting.

Going into this year, with the number of state legislatures, who control redistricting being controlled by Republicans, it was looking like it was a really good possibility that a lot of maps could be drawn in a way that would benefit Republicans. And unfortunately, as we get more of these maps, its looking as if instead of drawing districts in a way to maximize Republican members, they were drawn in such a way as to protect incumbents. And so, some of the gains that we thought we would get from redistricting have been turned into ensuring that certain districts will be Republican for the next ten years no matter what. And some of the swing districts could go either way instead of leaning Republican. With those changes, the things that Republicans could’ve advantaged from in redistricting won’t be as strong as we perhaps thought.

 

Throughout our conversation, it was clear Ayers had an astute understanding of how lawmakers of both parties might make their case to voters over the next several months. As those storylines continue to develop, we’ll be sure to keep up with him for more valuable insights.

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Dan W.
Dan W.
2 years ago

Good point regarding redistricting.

Those dummies sit there with all of the map drawing power in their hands and can’t see beyond enhancing their own individual power instead of creating more districts with GOP potential.

Fred Noel
Fred Noel
2 years ago

This is just more Pelosi/Schumer pork. They are the largest purveyor of pork products in America today. Everyone thinks Smithfield is the leading pork purveyors. They are not!

Joe
Joe
2 years ago

Republicans need to remind seniors that they will not be getting a nickel from the Dem’s Child Tax Credit. Many seniors are on fixed incomes, and when inflation causes prices to rise (like now) we will be hurting, while able-bodied younger Americans will be getting checks from the government as an incentive to stay home and not work.

Fred Roach
Fred Roach
2 years ago

The issue of the Child Tax Credit, that it is not the same as the pre-Biden protocol, and how to message the American people to make them understand that a monthly government check is not in their best interests, are all challenges the Republicans face in the coming months.

PaulE
PaulE
2 years ago

So basically an article where you sit down with a Washington lobbyist and talk political strategy from both political party perspectives. Alex Ayers is essentially pointing out how the chess board is currently aligned from both sides and telling you the strength and weaknesses on both sides of the board. One of the more interesting articles in a long time AMAC, as it conveys a more realistic view of how both parties are positioning themselves for the coming midterms.

Of particular note is even the lobbyist is pointing out the Republican Party seems to ignoring or somewhat over-looking the redistricting issue and hasn’t taken better advantage of getting ahead on a few other issues in their rose-colored glasses view of how the midterms might play out. Once again, it seems Republican Party leadership seems to be focused on simply replaying the tired, old playbook of “do and say as little as possible ahead of the election” and hope for the best. Something that has been quite evident, at least to some of us out here, if you have watched a number of the Congressional Republicans give their views the last 6 months on TV and radio. While at the same time the Democrat Party is looking at every means possible, no matter whether or not it is ethical or even constitutional, to leverage the ignorance of their voter base and circumvent the political process to get their agenda through one way or another.

One would hope the Republican Party leadership is already aware of these gaps that Mr. Ayers is pointing out and that they have already formulated a viable action plan to address not only these issues, but put forward a more focused and aggresive political strategy to win back both houses of Congress. Then again, this is the GOP leadership we are talking about and they are not exactly noted for being either proactive or innovative in their thinking. The next 3 months will tell us whether the Republican leadership has gotten the message or if they will simply be running the same old, tired strategy.

Brian
Brian
2 years ago

The Republicans and conservatives need to make it clear that what the Democrats want is not a child tax credit. Once again they have changed the definition to make it sound good to people. It is not a child tax credit. To get a tax credit you have to file a tax return. This is just another welfare program.

Kwolf22
Kwolf22
2 years ago

I believe the issue that no one is talking about is whether or not the 2022 election will be compromised. Everyone seems to think the republicans will be able to take back control, but if there are the same election shenanigans going on as there was for the presidential election that may not be the case.

John
John
2 years ago

The main issue not being talked about is the POWER OF THE PEOPLE to self govern, politicians DO NOT HAVE POWER, THEY HAVE DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES TO SERVE “WE THE PEOPLE”!!!
politicians need to ALL BE REPLACED by honest AMERICANS LIKE PRESIDENT TRUMP that actually kept all his campaign promises, show me a carreer politician that actually did that, AIN’T NONE!!!!!

Jesse Tiede
Jesse Tiede
2 years ago

So, we know what to expect from the Democrats. No realistic change since the ’80s and ’90s, except for the increased emphasis on Socialism. Several times the Republicans have been in control, even with a Super Majority, yet nothing changed to benefit the Taxpaying Citizens. Both parties swear they are for the “Middle Class” taxpayer, but only the 1% and the minorities seem to benefit, while that “Middle Class” pays the bills! Just how can we trust the Republicans to DO ANYTHING (to help the Middle Class Taxpayers), when they are in bed with the Liberal Progressive Socialist Democrats? Of the “Republican Party”, only the “Tea Party” and Conservatives are working to help the Middle Class. The Grand Old Party (GOP), and Republicans In Name Only (RINO) Republicans, (and you can also add the “Never Trump” Republicans) only seem to want to continue with Business, As Usual, with the Democrats leading them around by the nose! So, how can we trust the GOP/ RINO led Republican Party? Well, ONE SUGGESTION is for TERM LIMITS for CONGRESSIONAL MEMBERS! That would be a really good start to fixing America, both at home, and abroad… Just my two cents…

Sharon Ormsby
Sharon Ormsby
2 years ago

As one of my son’s have said. He didn’t take the child tax credit himself, even with four children, because in reading it, he would have to put his children in public schools. It’s there in the very loaded bill. Meaning, they would have to learn about CRT and all of that. He works for Chevron, and as he said, it’s one of the most liberal corporations there is. All the policies are geared towards globalism and green energy, etc. Most people are unaware of this.

Kay
Kay
2 years ago

I do not object to a child tax credit for those making $50,000 annual income but I certainly DO OBJECT TO PAYING HIGH INCOME EARNERS additional credits. I also strongly disagree with giving illegals any type of child tax credit which according to the BBB will allow them to file without social security numbers and additional money for each child. We should not be supporting illegals and I strongly disagree with the socialist democrats way of getting votes.
Republicans must not start believing they have the election won as the 2020 election is perfect example of what can go wrong. Socialist democrats will do anything to cheat,steal,rob any type of fair election. Beware

Backwoods
Backwoods
2 years ago

Anyone voting for a Democrat in the upcoming elections after what we see now is either very misinformed, stupid, or hates this country as founded. If it is the latter may I suggest you get a one way ticket out of this great country.

Patriot Bill
Patriot Bill
2 years ago

Bullcrap. You are for freedom or communism. Patriots vote Republican to remove the Marxists. Once we have power the rest of the RINOs get removed too

FDC
FDC
2 years ago

Interesting article. No reason for democrats to change as The republican Party and American people have been letting them get away with it for years. We allow them to keep buying votes with giveaway programs, letting illegal aliens into the country at will to boost their voter base since they giveaway your and my tax dollars for that purpose. The republican Child Tax Credit had a basis and provided a benefit, however the Democratic bill is merely a tax on working people to garner more support from its life sucking voter base including those on welfare and illegal aliens. Its long overdue for radical moves rather than forums, speeches and articles. Our citizens need to take back that which they have given up. We need to follow the Constitution and change any law that does not support constitutional efforts. All I have seen so far is democrats, socialists and the like doing whatever they want to do ensure their power in the government with Congress being the worst offenders. And I see the Republican Party giving in to them to keep their positions in the government. I think its past time talking about change, why can’t we have some national referendums to follow the constitution, ones that limit personal benefits to politicians no matter what party, enforce immigration laws to the letter and not let politicians decide what they want to be enforced. So far we have allowed the democrats and socialists to riot, ignore laws, allow deadly and destructive demonstrations and work to promote voter fraud on their behalf, and that includes the corruption of our Education System. In the end, inflation, the degradation of constitutional principles and the rise of socialism has been the ruination of a great country founded on sound principles. Democracy in the form of the Democratic Party and their socialist ideals are the antithesis of what our founding father’s and I envisioned this country should be for everyone and I believe it is time for action in some form to begin taking back Constitutional control.

Felix
Felix
2 years ago

Child Tax Credits being paid monthly is and will be a big issue, Republicans need to educate their constituants about the reality of turning our country socialist, by abdicating our freedoms to the federal government to being dependent on them for our existance. They need to tie into how government wants to control what the schools teach our kids CRT,, , regulations that restrict energy production, the invasion of our southern border paying illegal immigrants with freebees, that alot of american citizens have to pay for, not vetting people crossing the border for COVID and possible terrorist, hiring more IRS auditors, foriegn policy mistakes putting our nation in ecomomic and a military danger from China, Russia, Iran and North Korea by a resident in the white house who does’t even know he’s the president. Also, the government control over our freedom of speech as seen in the political incarceration of January 6 protestors by dening them their 6th Amendment right to a speedy and public trial. The list goes on and on, and the greatest obstacle is MSM crickets on the issues that are jeopardizing the survival of our nation. .

Vilas Gamble
Vilas Gamble
2 years ago

I disagree with most of what was said in this article. These government giveaways may sound nice to a lot of voters who want to depend upon government (taxpayers) for their source of money, but those of us who believe all able-bodied Americans who receive such payments should work for those payments and they should be means tested. Though I am opposed to these payments on principle as well as the rest of Biden’s BBB, I believe that the number one issue for the 2022 elections is FREEDOM!

Look at how many of our freedoms have been eviscerated over the past two years. When you go to vote, whether in the primaries, and the general election, if you want your freedoms back you will vote for the candidate and party most likely to restore them. If the past two years have shown anything it is the Democrats in D.C who have been heavy handed about extending government power and a “President” who sometimes does not even know where he is let alone know what the people want to get back to life and make decisions for ourselves and our own health.

Please read the following and you can see for yourself where our nation now stands on the table of “National Destruction”. If you want to reach point ten than vote to keep Democrats in power.

Cycle Of National Destruction

 

Alexander Tytler, Scottish Jurist and Historian, formulated this cycle, except for item 9. [Item 9 is added for more detail.]
On this cycle, where would you place the United States today?
“The average life of the world’s great civilizations has been 200 years. During this period each has progressed through the following sequence:
1. From bondage to spiritual faith.
2. From spiritual faith to great courage.
3. From courage to liberty.
4. From liberty to abundance.
5. From abundance to selfishness.
6. From selfishness to complacency.
7. From complacency to apathy.
8. From apathy to dependency.
[9. From dependency to crisis.]
10. From crisis back to bondage.”

   The choice is ours come November.

MariaRose
MariaRose
2 years ago

What should be done is to give the public clear transparency of the cost of this program actually is. Don’t let the Democrats spin the tale by being obtuse as their “Tax the Rich” reasoning. I want to hear full facts on the costs. Plus those who should benefit the most–the children– should be getting the money directly on their behalf–not a general fund for the family–with some form of check on how the spending is done—like the purchases on Snap benefits are distinguished at checkout. The money can not be used frivolously on non-essential purchases, like cigarettes, liquor, illegal drugs, or recreational drugs.
Also without forcing parents to work while children are under school age, but also not encouraging the parents to increase family size unnecessarily (no rational reason to have 10 children) but by providing free access to birth control and parenting classes. We don’t want to encourage people not to work just to get benefits but help those who do work with better incentives to stay working–better childcare programs that actually care for the children than being babysitting services with too many children unsupervised.
Don’t let the loudmouth Democrats take the stage and present false facts.

Jim Jolly
Jim Jolly
2 years ago

It is apparent that the DemocRats will lie and deceive to get what they want, whether it is good for the country or not and what I see it is mostly not. Hopefully other Democrats will see the problem and not just go alone with the Party of Pelosi and Schumer. I know that there are good Democrats as I know there are bad Republicans.

BAE
BAE
2 years ago

Great the doctor and his lawyer wife get a child tax credit. Should only be for people
who make under 20,000 a year.

Sean Richman
Sean Richman
2 years ago

These”people”have child after child after child only to receive more taxpayer dollars.Shame on you people and shame on the government and the politicians that allow this.

Michael Bowen
Michael Bowen
2 years ago

I wish someone would have the guts to bring up term limits .

Judy
Judy
2 years ago

First, let’s call a Spade a Spade! The current occupiers of OUR White House are TRAITORS NOT DEMOCRATS! Second, what WE are concerned about is whether we’ll have election integrity. After what took place in Nov2020, they’ve pretty much sealed the deal! So our Representatives need to be talking about making sure our elections are legal and fair!! Not once have I heard ANY OF THEM talking about doing g something about it! Until then they’re just blowin’ in the wind!

Kim
Kim
2 years ago

I just checked the US debt clock; we’re fast approaching $130 trillion in debt. That’s $237,000 debt per taxpayer. The debt:GDP ratio is a staggering 127%, and the dems will never apply the brakes to spending because that’s the only thing they know how to do. Of course, this drives inflation.

If government programs (free money) discourage work, production of goods and services, and the consumption of those goods, IT IS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT THAT IS CAUSING INFLATION! With the feds spending money at 127% of gross domestic production, how much longer do they think this system will work without totally bankrupting the country?! The edge of the cliff is right before us! They’ve tried every angle of approach, blaming inflation on Covid, on income inequality, on rich people buying second homes, climate change, or supply chain disruptions. It is THEY who are causing inflation.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t work. What the American people need is security in their future, and that comes with a market-based economy, being able to keep most of the income they worked for (that is, lower taxes). Competition in a free market, manufacturing in the USA, and smaller government drive down inflation. President Trump very ably showed us that. The dems will never buy into this kind of logic. They’re not likely to put that car in reverse by telling the freeloaders, “The days of free government handouts are over.” It’s worked for them so many times in the past and is the only reason they currently occupy seats in government. And look where that’s taken us.

Scott Taylor
Scott Taylor
2 years ago

Let’s be honest, the GOP is not doing much of anything to show that they are serious about change. They have ignored election integrity at every turn, where they could have provided tons of support in Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania. I don’t think that Ronna McDaniel has a clue what the people of this country are angry about. Elections are the heart and soul of our democracy. And they fall asleep at the wheel when people like Bill Cassidy turn into RINO’s. If they don’t start getting aggressive, their base is going to sleep through the midterms.

Ron Howard
Ron Howard
2 years ago

I am very disappointed in this article. First, I don’t see how consulting with a Democrat consultant on what Republicans need to do to win the midterms makes any sense. Second, While the Child Tax Credit is one of a huge number of important issues, I am more interested in election integrity and waking up Americans to what has resulted from the takeover by the Communist leaning Democrats and the Joe Biden administration and how the country and our freedoms have been turned upside-down since the takeover. It is as if we were attacked and defeated by a by a vile foreign country. The Democrat Party, President, Congress and Senate have caused division among the citizens, labeling groups and conservatives as “Domestic Terrorist”, including parents who disagree with what their children are being taught in school, cleansing our military of dissidents (Conservatives, certain religious followers, and those who oppose being forced to be injected with a poison Covid-19 shot). They are treating the January 6th protestors as Communist countries treat political prisoners, with beatings, imprisonment without due process, are using spending and “free” money giveaways to make citizens dependent on the Federal government, which creates labor shortages, loss production and supplies, and inflation, and trying to pass laws in congress to ensure that the illegal tactics used in the 2020 Presidential election become permanently lawful.

This article seems to look at the coming midterm elections as just another normal routine fight over which political party wins, but I see it as an urgent battle to regain control of our country, our freedom, our Constitution. Yes, it is important for Republicans to develop a good platform and to present some good plans for fixing the economy, healthcare, inflation, spending, and more, but it is essential to point out how the Democrats turned loyalty to Party as more important than loyalty to America, where if you belong to their party, you are an ally, if not you are the enemy. I could go on about how serious this next election is, but it is NOT just another normal midterm election, it is a battle for the life of the greatest free country in the history of civilization over Communism control. I just pray that enough American citizens realize it and will influence others to VOTE! Short of a full-blown armed revolution it is the only hope for saving America!

robert E broderick
robert E broderick
2 years ago

Why is it called a TAX CREDIT if they are given a check ?????

Andrew P
Andrew P
2 years ago

I don’t know if this will happen before the Midterms, but it is likely that Biden’s inflation will kill the Everything Bubble – and that means the stock market. And that has huge implications for elections.

Becky
Becky
2 years ago

My world has gone as nuts as the Commie Party! These DC fools continue to patronize us and pretend we have a typical ‘election’ coming up based on ‘issues’.
The Commie Party stopped operating on “issues” in 1980 when we elected Reagan. Nothing is typical or normal any longer.
Including our farce of elections.

HocasPocas
HocasPocas
2 years ago

There is a lot more going on in this country other than a wrecked economy

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