Why Senator Corker Should Vote Against The GOP Tax Bill

The Republican Party tax bill threatens to destroy Senator Corker’s legacy, and flip the Senate to the Democrats.

Until recently, Senator Corker had garnered (rare) widespread bipartisan praise for standing up to Trump and bucking his own party leadership by originally voting against the Senate version of the GOP tax bill because it will explode the U.S. national debt by over an additional $1 trillion, contrary to every principle that Senator Corker (and every conservative in the pre-Trump era) holds dear.

Principle over Party.

Senator Corker was still a “noas of last week, maintaining his principle that he would not vote in favour of a tax bill that would add a single penny to the deficit.

Well, until recently.

Seemingly miraculously, Senator Corker switched his vote to a “yesafter a provision was added to the bill that would personally enrich Senator Corker (and Trump), despite the fact that the bill will still add over 100 trillion “pennies” to the U.S. national debt.

In fact, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn specifically stated that the aforementioned provision was added to the GOP Tax Bill to “cobble together [the] votes” necessary to pass the measure – remember, the only Republican Senator who had voted “no” was Senator Corker.

That looks bad.  Really, really bad.

In fact, #CorkerKickback has been trending on social media as citizen outrage continues to grow over such a seemingly blatant demonstration of corruption as Senator Corker’s flip-flop on the GOP Tax Bill.  So much so, that Senator Corker has had to defend himself by claiming he switched his intention to “yes” before actually having read the full text of the GOP Tax Bill.

That’s an odd defence – essentially, Senator Corker feels his only recourse his to admit to negligence (that he failed to do his job as an elected official).

Needless to say, most citizens will find Senator Corker’s explanation wanting, leaving him as the ‘poster-boy’ image of modern-day political corruption.

Unless he votes “no“.

This is why Senator Corker should immediately declare that after having had an opportunity to review the full text of the GOP Tax Bill, he will vote against it:

  1. Senator Corker may be retiring, but even retired politicians care about their legacy.  Perhaps even more so than active politicians.  After all, Senator Corker’s legacy is all he will leave with when he does retire.  Up until this weekend, his legacy would have been that he had put his principles and his country above his party.  Not a bad legacy to have, in this polarizing age of partisanship.  As of today, his legacy will be of the ‘poster-boy’ of modern-day political corruption.  Even a retiring politician would never choose the latter.
  2. He may be retiring, but he’s not dead.  Not only do many politicians ‘unretire’ (a door that Senator Corker would forever foreclose if he retires after voting for the GOP Tax Bill that enriches himself personally), but as with most individuals of Senator Corker’s passions and ambitions, he is expected to continue to be active, whether in business or in the community, or both.  Again, leaving with a legacy of such blatant corruption would undo any post-retirement plans he may have otherwise had for continuing to be engaged.  Simply put, he’ll be toxic for the remainder of his life.
  3. A clear plurality of Tennessean voters are opposed to the GOP Tax Bill.  By voting against the measure, Senator Corker can loudly and publicly claim that he voted in line with the wishes of his constituents’ wishes, once again reclaiming the moral high ground (and, incidentally, setting himself up as one of the leading post-Trump voices in the conservative movement).
  4. Senator Corker’s vote in favour of the GOP Tax Bill would inevitably embolden the Democratic base in Tennessee, further endangering an open Senate seat that the Democrats are already eyeing to flip the Senate in 2018.  Popular two-term former governor Phil Bredesen has already announced his candidacy for Senator Corker’s upcoming open seat – if Senator Corker saddles the Republican candidate for the open Tennesee Senate seat in 2018 with his vote in favour of the unpopular GOP Tax Bill, Senator Corker’s ultimate legacy may end up being flipping the Senate to the Democrats in 2018.
  5. But, most importantly, the Republican Party doesn’t need Senator Corker’s vote!  With Senator McCain home in Arizona, the Republican Party still has an extra Senate vote it can afford to lose – even if Senator Corker votes “no“, the measure will pass 50-49.  (In fact, up to 3 GOP Senators could simply abstain and the measure would still pass 48(+1)-48 with a Vice President Pence tie-breaking vote, the very reason he skipped out on his Mideast visit to stay in Washington.)

For these reasons, Senator Corker should vote against the GOP Tax Bill.


Why Trump Should Not Endorse Moore

Now that Trump is on his way back to the United States and will be under intense scrutiny to weigh in on the Alabama Senate special election (to replace Jeff Sessions, current Attorney General of the United States), he should not endorse Roy Moore.

On his way back from an Asian junket, Trump has already deflected questions about embattled Senate Republican candidate Roy Moore.  These questions will only continue to increase in both intensity and volume, journalists confidant that Trump will almost certainly be unable to ‘stick to the script’ and restrain himself from expressing his opinion.

Speaking of the ‘script’, the White House has already released a statement that Trump believes Moore will “do the right thing and step aside” if the allegations are true.

That’s a very, very big caveat, leaving Trump plenty of room to find a way to endorse Moore if he continues to deny the allegations.  Almost certainly, Trump’s instincts are to endorse Moore, the candidate he regrets not endorsing in the Republican primary.

But, there is almost no upside to Trump endorsing Moore, whereas the downside risks to him, the Republicans Party, Trump’s agenda and Trump’s own power are formidable.

First, by endorsing Moore, Trump will solidify the perception that he is a misogynist.  Remember, Trump lost the female vote 54% to 42% in the 2016 Presidential election.  That gender gap has only widened since: 59% of 2016 female voters now view Trump as biased against women.  Trump’s surprise 2016 victory relied primarily upon white college educated women who backed the Republican candidate (by 6 points) despite his own history of allegations of rape, attempted rape, sexual battery, sexual assault, sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. In Virginia’s recent Gubernatorial special election, the Republican Trump-esque candidate lost the white college educated female vote by 16 points.  It is all but inconceivable that Trump could repeat anything close to his stunning 2016 upset if he continues to bleed support among white college educated women, which he undoubtedly will if he openly backs Moore.

Second, and in a related vein, Trump will no doubt remind voters of his own sordid history of allegations of rape, attempted rape, serial sexual battery, sexual assault, sexual harassment and sexual misconduct, a reminder that will continue throughout Trump’s presidency (so long as Moore remains in the Senate), and into the 2020 presidential election if Trump decides to run again.  If Trump were to openly embrace Moore now, it would be a daily reminder of his own (similar) past, a constant association that will shadow Trump throughout the remainder of his presidency.

Third, by endorsing Moore, Trump will crown the ascendancy of Steve Bannon as the true power behind the throne, neutering himself in the process.  Bannon has openly declared war upon Trump’s Republican Party, declared the Trump presidency over (after being ousted from the White House by Trump’s Chief-of-Staff John Kelly), and predicted Trump has only a 30% chance of surviving his first term as president.  If Trump meekly follows Bannon and Moore does win, it will be Bannon who will get all the partisan credit (because he is a partisan) empowering Bannon’s agenda, while Trump will assume all the scorn for his association with such an unsavoury candidate (because, despite what Trump thinks, at  least as demonstrated by his behaviour thus far, he is not properly a partisan, but actually president of all Americans).

Fourth, there is little reason to believe that Trump’s endorsement is even necessary.  A Democratic Senate candidate hasn’t won in Alabama in 27 years!  Alabama is won of the deepest red states in the Union.  Trump won Alabama in 2016 by almost 26 points90% of Trump supporters indicated they were not affected by the infamous Access Hollywood tape that showed Trump openly admit to, and brag about, having committed serial sexual battery.  Another poll found that 11% of Republican voters had a more favourable view of Trump after viewing the Access Hollywood tape that showed Trump openly admit to, and brag about, having committed serial sexual battery.  In fact, a Alabamian Republican female representative (Martha Roby) lost support in Alabama (losing 18% points and dropping below 50%) after she retracted her endorsement of Trump after the release of the infamous Access Hollywood tape that showed Trump openly admit to, and brag about, having committed serial sexual battery.

Fifth, the Republicans can actually afford to lose the Alabama Senate seat because the Republicans hold a 2 seat majority in the Senate with Vice President Mike Pence serving as Trump’s loyal tie-breaker.  Even if the Republicans do lose the seat, losing it because they took a moral stance will do them better come the 2018 midterm elections; whereas keeping it by embracing a man accused of such immorality tarnishes the Republican brand even further going into 2018.  By keeping the damage to a single senate seat in 2017, the Republicans will remain on offense in 2018; but, filling the seat in 2017 with Moore will put almost all open Republican seats on the defensive in the 2018 midterms, threatening the Republican majority.

Sixth, if Trump’s presidency wasn’t already enough of a catalyst, his endorsement of Moore, and the Republican Party’s inevitable bowing to his will and seating Moore in the Senate, would skyrocket the passions of the Democratic base – all but ensuring a ‘blue wave‘ in 2018 that could flip both the House and the Senate giving a majority to the Democrats and, if the wave extends to the state level (as it almost always does), it will break just in time for the 2020 census that will allow for redistricting in the Democrats’ favour.

Seventh, a Trump endorsement of such a controversial figure as Moore could continue to fracture the Republican party, at a time that divisions within Trump’s party has already cost him a shocking defeat in his most important legislative goal: the repeal of his hated predecessors eponymous Obamacare.  Trump has already suffered unprecedented attacks from within his own party – if Trump backs Moore and Moore manages to lose in deep red Alabama, what little restraint remains in the Republican ranks could quickly disappear and it would be open-season for Republican attacks against the President.

Eighth, if a Trump backed Moore candidacy loses even in Alabama (a bastion of Trump country), Trump’s base may well start imploding – least of all from the perception that Trump’s base is abandoning him, which will only go on to accelerate such abandonment in a cycle of self-fulfilling political prophecy.

Ninth, and perhaps most importantly, if Moore does go on to lose even after a Trump endorsement, coming on the heels of the shocking defeat of a Trump-esque gubernatorial candidate in (what may be newly minted ‘blue’) Virginia, the Trump brand could be fatally tarnished heading into the 2018 midterm elections.

Finally, there is always the possibility that some more damaging allegations/information emerges between now and the special election which will vicariously taint all of Moore’s prominent supporters, Trump among them if he decides to publicly back Moore.

The bottom line is that though a Trump endorsement does little, if anything, to help him, his presidency, or the Republican Party (even a Moore victory merely preserves the status quo), Trump’s endorsement of Moore threatens to harm him, his presidency and the Republican Party heading into the 2018 midterms regardless of whether Moore wins.

Trump’s support is at historic record lows.  He simply has no room for error.  In the midst of the emerging #MeToo movement, the downside risks to Trump far, far outweigh the negligible (if non-existent) benefit he may gain from backing Moore now.

That’s why Trump should not endorse Moore.