As Republicans in Congress take up President Donald Trump's tax reform push, a coalition of liberal groups are seeking to make an example out of one swing-district Republican by targeting him with six-figures worth of television ads blasting the effort as a giveaway to the rich.
"Rod Blum is getting ready to vote for Donald Trump's tax plan that would mainly benefit the richest Americans, not the middle class," says the narrator of the new ad. "The rich could get nearly $2 trillion more, but Rod Blum's vote won't help ordinary people. Tell Rod Blum not one penny more in tax breaks for millionaires."
The ad is produced by Not One Penny, a broad coalition that includes groups like Indivisible, Americans for Tax Fairness, and several labor unions. It follows the coalition's earlier seven-figure ad campaign targeting eight House Republicans, including Blum, which also struck a populist tone that could be repeated in future ads.
Blum represents a mostly white, blue-collar swath of northeast Iowa that was represented by a Democrat for almost a decade before Blum won it in 2014. The district is emblematic of the kinds of places that have trended away from Democrats, with Barack Obama winning the district comfortably in 2012, only to see Hillary Clinton lose it narrowly in 2016.
"Congressman Blum's constituents didn't elect him so that he could give tax breaks to the rich and wealthy corporations, including millionaires like himself," said Nicole Gill, the executive director of the Tax March, another Not One Penny partner. "We need a tax code that works for working families, not Wall Street executives or America's wealthiest families. Instead of voting for policies that benefit corporate insiders, Rod Blum should listen to his constituents when they demand not one penny in tax cuts."
With the repeal of the Affordable Care Act in jeopardy, many Republicans seem eager to move onto tax reform, expecting it to be a more favorable political environment.
But the ad shows Democrats believe they can weaponize the issue just as they did with health care, replacing stories of people having their insurance coverage taken away with rhetoric about unfair tax breaks for the rich.