I believe it was Andrew Sullivan who coined  the phrase “Cold Civil War” to describe the current state of our Republican-Democrat divide, with the geography and ideology of our current dystopia uncannily matching the Mason-Dixon line that characterized our previous Civil War.  As Sullivan wrote a few years ago: 

This, then, remains a country in a Cold Civil War – not far off the geographical contours of the first, but with the inheritors of the Confederacy concentrated in the South and now also with serious pockets of absolutists in the more rural parts of the country as a whole.  . . . We've been covering this Republican meltdown for years. It feels like I've been watching it for much of my adult life. And it's true that if they simply retain total unity and resist any compromise on anything, they can help destroy this country's economy – and the world's. The Constitution gives them that power, even though the founders warned precisely against the kind of purism and factionalism that now threatens the stability of the entire country. . . . 

All to protect the very wealthy and successful from providing an ounce of extra sacrifice in tackling the debt, even as they demand everyone else, especially the poor and vulnerable, take a hit.

Kevin Drum, here, here and here, now offers us an extraordinarily helpful analysis of how Republicans are turning that Cold Civil War hot, using their proposed tax bill with surgical precision to force Blue States to pay the bill for the Republicans’ tax bill’s give-aways to the corporations and wealthy.   (All charts courtesy of Drum.)


Capping the mortgage interest deduction at $500,000?  Let’s look at the Red-Blue State divide . . . 

Or, who stands to benefit the most by an increase in the child tax credit?

Or, who pays the highest state and local taxes — now no longer deductible? 


Or, which states will pay the most for eliminating deductions for out-of-pocket medical expenses?

Or — I am seeing a trend here — which states will be hit hardest by eliminating the deduction for student loan interest? 


And, remember, these spending cuts are coming less from a policy position than they are necessary for the 51 vote “Reconciliation” process and thus to eliminate the need for Republicans to seek any Blue State Democratic votes.

As a result, Blue State Democrats are cut out of the democratic process and forced to disproportionately pay for Republicans’ destructive tax policies.


This once got Americans mad.  Is it catchy enough of a rallying cry to yell: “No taxation [policy] without representation!”

And doubly important, note that the Republicans’ move to eliminate deductions for state and local taxes is a dangerous escalation of their long “Starve the Beast” plan, driving this lunacy down to the state level.  

Democrats certainly have a lot of arrows in their quiver to attack this Republican tax bill (should Dems gain any messaging competence).  But this Red-Blue State divide should not be ignored.  There are still some Blue State Republicans, and Republicans have very few votes to spare. 


  • November 3, 2017
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