Who is going to win the November election? Well, some are seizing on polls showing a lead for former Vice President Joe Biden.
Prognosticators, however, would do well to remember that, in recent history, he who offers a tax increase loses.
Recent Gallup polling shows that Republican voters are committed to their candidate and Democrat voters are committed to their candidate—at least when you call them up and ask them. Which side actually turns out to vote on Election Day in greater numbers and to whom independent voters will gravitate will decide the election.
One issue that has had a significant impact in recent history is tax policy. In this election, Biden is promising to raise taxes, which is consistent with the overall tax and regulatory burden increase of the Obama–Biden administration. President Donald Trump, on the other hand, significantly reduced taxes in his first term and is promising more of the same in his second term.
A recent Rasmussen poll indicates that 70 percent of Americans consider cutting taxes to be a top issue and that 53 percent of likely voters think Biden will raise taxes. Only 28 percent think Trump will raise taxes in a second term.
If that perception holds on Election Day, Biden would be in trouble.
Recall that Ronald Reagan ran a major tax cut against Jimmy Carter, who did not. Reagan won, cut taxes, the economy improved, and he was then reelected over Walter Mondale, who promised to raise taxes.
Bush 41 ran promising that there would be “no new taxes” against Michael Dukakis, who raised taxes as governor of Massachusetts. Bush 41 won but then, in his reelection campaign, famously went back on his pledge not to raise taxes and lost to Bill Clinton, who promised a middle-class tax cut.
Clinton then raised taxes but ran against Bob Dole, who had voted for tax increases in the past. Dole belatedly offered a tax reduction plan, but it was too late in the cycle. Clinton promised tax reductions again and with the help of a third-party candidate, he won reelection.
Bush 43 offered a tax reduction plan, which Al Gore called a risky scheme. Gore offered to raise taxes and lost. Bush 43 cut taxes, the economy improved, and he won reelection by beating tax-increaser John Kerry.
President Barack Obama ran promising to reduce taxes the first time he ran. His opponent, John McCain, was never good on taxes. Obama was the perceived tax reducer and won. He also was reelected over Mitt Romney.
Although Romney offered a tax cut, he wasn’t a good spokesman for his cause. Indeed, during one debate with Obama, Romney said: “I’m not looking for a $5 trillion tax cut. What I’ve said is I won’t put in place a tax cut that adds to the deficit. … So there’s no economist that can say Mitt Romney’s tax plan adds $5 trillion if I say I will not add to the deficit with my tax plan.”
Romney also was accused of not disclosing details of his plan, which added to the perception he was not strong on taxes. In short, Romney was not a clear voice for tax reduction.
President Donald Trump was clear on taxes and the world knew that Hillary Clinton would raise them. Trump then signed a major tax reform bill, and the economy improved. He’s now running against Joe Biden, who’s promising a major tax increase.
Of course, there are more issues in any one campaign than tax policy. On the other hand, few policies are as clear an indicator of results as offering a tax increase.
So if this recent history is a guide, Biden’s tax plan is a risky scheme for being elected. Trump would also be wise to let every independent voter know that Joe Biden is out for their wallet.
Thomas Del Beccaro is an acclaimed author, speaker, Fox News, Fox Business, and Epoch Times opinion writer, and the former chairman of the California Republican Party. He is the author of the historical perspectives “The Divided Era” and “The New Conservative Paradigm.”
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.