In reading coverage of the Republican tax bill, which passed the House on Wednesday and is ready for President Trump’s signature, I was reminded of this famous clip of the 1992 “town hall” presidential debate between Bill Clinton and George W. Bush,1 in which a voter asked the candidates a question about the “national debt” and how it had “personally affected” their lives.
Bush answered the question literally, talking about the effect of the debt on interest rates and awkwardly objecting to the notion that he couldn’t understand the impact of the debt if it hadn’t affected him personally. …
As the GOP tax bill has neared final passage, a number of Republican lawmakers — and some nonpartisan journalists and commentators — have predicted that the bill, which is highly unpopular for now, will become more popular after final passage because voters haven’t yet realized they’re getting a tax cut but will soon receive one.
I wonder if these commentators aren’t making a version of Bush’s mistake, taking voters’ concerns about the bill literally but not seriously. CONT.
Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight