2022 midterms

Rick Scott’s Ultra-MAGA Agenda Gives Democrats a Midterm Lifeline

Rick Scott Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Imagine the chairman of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee putting out a detailed agenda to show what his party planned to do after the 2022 midterms if they retained control of the upper chamber. Suppose the document ranted and raved about Christian homophobes, overbearing parents, piggy patriarchal anti-feminists, and corporate whores and called for defunding the police everywhere, the immediate abolition of pickup trucks, and mandatory critical race theory instruction in all schools.

Of course, that would never happen in a million years. But it’s only a slightly exaggerated mirror image of what Republican National Senatorial Committee chairman Rick Scott has put out there as a manifesto for his party’s midterm election campaigns. His “11-Point Plan to Rescue America” is like a bad parody of what liberals think conservatives stand for. And thus it’s no surprise that Democrats are beginning to call attention to it.

Seriously, check out this rhetoric from Scott’s “plan.” It’s like a local John Birch Society chapter’s keynote address from 1959:

The militant leftnow controls the entire federal government, the news media, academia, Hollywood, and most corporate boardrooms – but they want more. They are redefining America and silencing their opponents.

Among the things they plan to change or destroy are: American history, patriotism, border security, the nuclear family, gender, traditional morality, capitalism,  fiscal responsibility, opportunity, rugged individualism, Judeo-Christian values, dissent, free speech, color blindness, law enforcement, religious liberty, parental involvement in public schools, and private ownership of firearms.

But bonkers as the rhetoric is, the particular proposals are worse. Scott calls for a 12-year limit on most federal employment as well as moving “most Government agencies out of Washington and into the real world.” He also wants to cut the IRS’s funding and workforce by 50 percent and impose a new minimum income tax on Americans who currently have no net tax liability.

When Mitch McConnell heard about this, he hit the roof. “If we’re fortunate enough to have the majority next year, I’ll be the majority leader. I’ll decide, in consultation with my members, what to put on the floor,” McConnell told reporters last month. “Let me tell you what will not be on our agenda. We will not have as part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half the American people and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years. That will not be part of the Republican Senate majority agenda.”

But the genie was out of the bottle, and Scott doubled down in a Wall Street Journal op-ed in which he bragged that he was defying “beltway cowardice.” So to the extent that he is a prominent Republican senator who runs his party’s 2022 campaign committee, his agenda is fair game. And Democrats are pouncing on it, as NBC News reports:

In a peek of its upcoming messaging strategy, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee recently field-tested Scott’s plan with swing state voters and found strong aversion to the tax increase language as well as the idea of sunsetting all federally funded programs in five years, which would mean ending Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act.

The DSCC found that these elements of the Scott agenda are particularly objectionable to key groups of voters:

“This message drives the largest drop in Republican vote share among voters over 65+, Latino voters, and white voters without a college degree,” according to Blue Rose Research, which interviewed 2,777 voters in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin via online web panels March 25-30.

You have to figure Scott was trying to appeal to a national MAGA audience, regardless of the potential impact on the swing voters Republicans need in 2022. Perhaps he only cares about 2024 and his potential as a presidential nominee competing with his constituent at Mar-a-Lago or his own governor, Ron DeSantis.

But Republicans nationally could pay for Scott’s candor about what his party really wants to do.

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Rick Scott’s Ultra-MAGA Agenda Gives Dems a Midterm Lifeline