The one thing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell did not want his party to do this year was unveil a policy blueprint. The Republican’s thinking was obvious: The moment the GOP presented some kind of governing vision, Democrats and the party’s critics would have an election-year target.
Sen. Rick Scott ignored McConnell’s wishes and unveiled a 31-page plan this week. As The Hill reported, the Florida Republican is apparently so pleased with the document that he’s launching an ad campaign in support of it.
... Scott is going full steam ahead in selling the plan. On Thursday, the senator rolled out a seven-figure national television and digital ad buy to promote the agenda. Scott and his team are also set to hold events in Florida to talk about it this week. “Outside of Washington, the reaction has been very positive,” [spokesperson Chris Hartline] said. “Especially in our base, but really beyond that, voters have been wanting to see something like this for a long time.”
The 30-second ad, posted online on Wednesday, is available in its entirety here.
What’s unusual about this political dynamic is that this is one of those rare instances in which Democrats have reason to be pleased about a Republican ad campaign.
As we’ve discussed, Scott’s blueprint isn’t a serious approach to modern policymaking. It’s a robust collection of soundbites and bumper-sticker slogans, combining stale ideas (congressional term limits and school vouchers), culture war nonsense (Scott is anti-trans and believes “science” necessitates a ban on abortions), and increasingly dangerous lies (his document insists that Democrats are “trying to rig elections” and want to “legalize voter fraud”).
But perhaps most importantly, the Florida Republican’s blueprint proposes tax hikes on tens of millions of lower-income Americans. Scott has denied this, but the senator literally put this in writing: “All Americans should pay some income tax to have skin in the game, even if a small amount. Currently over half of Americans pay no income tax.”
In other words, tens of millions of American adults currently don’t pay federal income taxes because they don’t make enough money to qualify. Scott, a member of the Senate Republican leadership, proposes changing that: He envisions a tax system in which those who don’t make enough money would have to pay more than they pay now.
And now he’s making a seven-figure investment in support of promoting this plan — a far-right blueprint that will help unite Democrats and put Republicans in an awkward position of either endorsing an agenda with unpopular ideas, or distancing themselves from one of their high-profile GOP allies.
Rick Scott seems to want his blueprint to be at the center of this year’s midterm elections. Oddly enough, many Democrats are likely to agree.