Americans Want to Tax the Rich. What a Shock.

Stop the presses: most Americans want to tax the rich.

Navigator Research released a bunch of new polling Wednesday, revealing one of the more obvious American political truths. People of all stripes think the wealthy should pay more taxes. It’s that simple. Even the greenest political neophyte can figure this one out. But that doesn’t make the polling—or its potential impact on Democratic midterm strategy—any less important.

Navigator focused its attention on Democratic-held House battleground districts. Republicans outnumber Democrats in several of them. But even with the political parity, the numbers tell a clear story. Overall, 60 percent of respondents support higher taxes on wealthy Americans (making $400,000+ per year) and large corporations. A further breakdown shows 45 percent “strongly support” higher taxes.

Again, this polling isn’t shocking. Asking any average person on the street and they’re likely to say they favor wealthier people paying their fair share. Still, it’s important to reiterate the general popularity of tax hikes as Democrats mull major infrastructure legislation and begin gearing up for the 2022 midterms. Navigator’s polling goes even further, looking into actual messaging behind higher taxes. Republican arguments against higher taxes have an impact, but “is minimized if voters also hear more about the plan.” That support grows even more when someones describes the specifics of those tax increases. And three specific tax measures maintain broad support across the board.

Though Navigator’s polling is directly related to the infrastructure bill, Democrats would do well to heed these results beyond it. Passing infrastructure may be key to getting Dems across the line next year to hold their House majority. The American electorate responds to major spending that helps them. The COVID-19 relief bill and stimulus checks proved that. Using taxes to pay for things only makes that type of legislation more popular. They might have to wade through Republican attacks and narratives, but the recipe is simple enough.

Democrats’ fight for infrastructure won’t stop even if they bypass the filibuster and use budget reconciliation to pass it. Republicans will continue spreading the messaging Navigator uses here to paint the Dems as reckless spenders who don’t care about average Americans. It will serve as their main line of attack in 2022, aside from the manufactured critical race theory panic. Republicans have already threatened to reintroduce corporate tax breaks—which were historically unpopular—if they win back power next year. There’s quite literally no downside for Democrats, unless they feel like losing. It’s time to trust the numbers, even as they lay bare the most obvious political sentiments imaginable. People want to tax the rich, plain and simple. It might be cliche, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

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