David Winston

Gleeful Democrats pulled off the perfect tax scam
Trafficking in disinformation, the party managed to poison Trump’s tax cuts

OPINION — “Nobody likes to give themselves credit for this kind of messaging success, but progressive groups did a really good job of convincing people that Trump raised their taxes when the facts say a clear majority got a tax cut,” Vox senior correspondent Matthew Yglesias tweeted April 8.

Let me get this straight. Yglesias admits that Democrats misled the American people about the Republican tax cut legislation, and that’s OK with him?

Democrats may win their base with Trump — but lose independents
Partisan positions aren’t playing well beyond core supporters

OPINION — The Democratic presidential field hit a new watermark this week, reaching a record-setting 18 officially declared candidates. That’s enough for two baseball teams or three hockey teams. And there’s probably more candidates to come.

But why so many? Because, like Republican candidates in 2012, Democrats think that whoever wins their party’s nomination has a lock on the presidency in 2020. That’s what Mitt Romney’s team thought up to the moment he lost, not unlike the Clinton campaign’s overconfidence in the inevitability of her victory in 2016.

2020 Democrats go silent after Senate’s Green New Deal debacle
To quote John McEnroe: ‘You cannot be serious!’

OPINION — In the awkward aftermath of the Green New Deal’s rollout, perhaps the most appropriate question for its supporters, especially the Democratic presidential field, is one often posed by tennis bad boy John McEnroe: “You cannot be serious!”

But, apparently, when New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Sen. Edward Markey introduced their proposal in February, they were deadly serious, and breathless progressives couldn’t wait to hop aboard the climate change express. First in line, the Democratic presidential candidates in the Senate who were eager to offer up their enthusiastic support.

As Russia fog lifts for Trump, will Democrats finally see reality?
Pushing collusion theories only delayed inevitable reckoning over 2016

OPINION — Donald Trump has been president for 113 weeks, but last week, well, “That was the week that was,” to repurpose a little ’60s political satire.

It began Monday with the release of a CNN survey showing good economic numbers for the president and ended Sunday with better news for Trump and his supporters: The Mueller investigation was over with no collusion found and no further indictments.

This isn’t Nancy Pelosi’s first impeachment rodeo
With their quest to impeach Trump, Democrats are only hurting themselves. The speaker understands this, even if many in her party don’t

OPINION — Almost 21 years ago, on Sept. 9, 1998, I was in a room at the Library of Congress at a Republican House leadership meeting as they discussed the fall legislative agenda that would lead up to the congressional elections, less than two months away. The country was already divided as partisans took to their corners over the Lewinsky scandal and the possible impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

Everyone was anticipating that the Starr report might be released in the next couple of days. As I stood next to a wall, I looked out over the long table where the leadership members were seated, with most of the senior leadership staff sitting along the far wall with the windows behind them. It was then that I saw two vans pull up in front of the Capitol. As 36 boxes of reports were unloaded, a Pandora’s box called impeachment opened and I remember thinking, “Everything is about to change.” And it did.

The capitalism vs. socialism debate: Bring it on
This is where America in 2019 finds itself, arguing over a settled question

OPINION — Capitalism vs. socialism. It sounds like a debate topic better suited to a ’60s Berkley lecture hall than a 21st-century presidential campaign taking place in a robust, capitalist economy.

But that is where America in 2019 finds itself, arguing over what seems to be a settled question for anyone with a cursory knowledge of socialism’s bleak record of lackluster economies in many countries and totalitarianism in many others. Whether it was revolutionary Cuba in the last century or Venezuela in this century, socialism can take a nation down a dangerous path to poverty and oppression, propped up by authoritarian governments that destroy freedom and opportunity.

Unpacking the Democrats’ jam-packed primary
The party begins its presidential primary season with less than ideal atmospherics

OPINION — Congressional infighting. Internal clashes over policy. Primary threats. A candidate field the size of a small village and a set of party rules that may or may not yield a fair process. The Democrats’ 2020 presidential primary season has officially begun.

It may end up a three-ring circus of unhappy losers and their equally unhappy supporters or an equitable winnowing of one the biggest fields of presidential candidates in modern history. Whether the process works and is seen as fair to all will be crucial to ensuring a party unified behind its eventual nominee. That’s where it gets complicated for the Democrats.

After decades of taxing the rich, the ‘Big Blues’ face the music
The dismal financial situation of high-tax states has been long in the making

OPINION — “Tax the rich. Tax the rich. Tax the rich. The rich leave. And now what do you do?”

Those were the plaintive words of the man in charge of guiding New York’s fiscal ship of state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as he announced earlier this month a projected $2.3 billion state budget deficit.

New York City’s progressive elites gambled and lost over Amazon
Democrats’ unforced error on HQ2 deal delivered a gift to Republicans

OPINION — “I think it’s a bluff, first and foremost.”

Those were the words of New York City Council deputy leader Jimmy Van Bramer to Fox News’ Neil Cavuto on Feb. 11. Cavuto had asked Van Bramer about the possibility of Amazon walking away from its historic deal to locate one of its second headquarters in Queens because of anti-deal efforts stirred up by Van Bramer and others, most notably Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and state Sen. Michael Gianaris.

Note to Ocasio-Cortez and Green New Dealers: The economy is not the government
Like old New Deal, plan promises much and will produce little

OPINION — In the final debate of the 2010 British general election, Conservative Party leader David Cameron told his Labour Party rival, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, that “Labour seem to confuse the economy with the government.” A month later, Cameron had Brown’s job. 

Given the proposals in the Democrats’ Green New Deal — whose bungled release last week made for some sorely needed comic moments in an otherwise grim Washington — their leading economist, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, could learn something important from Cameron’s spot-on observation about what drives a successful economy. A hint: It isn’t government.

Trump’s audience in the House chamber isn’t the one that matters
Forget the pomp and antics. The electorate is growing increasingly impatient. This State of the Union is for them

OPINION — Let’s start with the fact that I’m writing this before, not after, the State of the Union. (Deadlines are sometimes inconvenient.) So, with that caveat in place, I’m going to suggest that whatever Donald Trump said in his speech, whatever antics the Democrats planned to distract and disrupt the proceedings, what matters most isn’t the reaction in the House chamber or the post-speech punditry. What matters is whether the president’s words and his vision for the future connect with a decidedly divided American public.

It’s an understatement to say that there isn’t much that partisan America seems to agree on these days. Still, most voters — Republicans, Democrats and independents — would probably agree that State of the Unions are usually long, dull laundry lists of accomplishments and proposals, preceded in the days leading up to them by great expectations, at least inside the Beltway. Ask anyone on the street six months after Barack Obama’s last SOTU or Donald Trump’s first to tell you what either said, and you’ll probably get more blank stares than recollections, good or bad.

When shutdown politics add to economic woes, nobody wins
Both sides would be better off coming to the table and finishing the job

OPINION — The Congressional Budget Office told us this week that the U.S. economy is likely to take a $3 billion hit from the partial government shutdown, assuming federal employees will get their back pay. $3 billion is a significant amount, but it is likely to have a relatively small impact in the context of a nearly $20 trillion economy. What the estimate doesn’t measure, of course, are specific personal impacts on people, families and small businesses.

The shutdown was just one more blow, if a minor one, to the nation’s economic psyche, which took a beating in December when the stock market took a downturn. Many Americans lost a significant portion of their savings, especially retirement savings. Put the two events together and we’re now beginning to see some erosion in people’s confidence in the economy, despite good growth and unemployment numbers overall.

Democrats are playing a blame game they may not win
Americans want solutions and they expect new House majority to be a part of it

OPINION — It’s feeling like Groundhog Day in Washington. Every morning, each side in the partial shutdown fight digs in and blames each other for what seems to be devolving into one of the great paradoxes of physics — what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?

But blame isn’t a solution.

Voters didn’t want a stalemate. But they expected one from Dems
There’s a big difference between what people hope the House will do and what they think it actually will

OPINION — The 116th Congress has arrived, and less than two weeks into the session, America has already tasted the fruits of its electoral labors last November. It’s been quite a debut for House Democrats.

The country has been treated to profanity-laced rants from new Democratic members as a breathless, media-driven cult of personality grows around the newly-elected freshman class. Voters, desperate for real-world solutions to cost-of-living issues, have seen the Democratic Caucus’ increasingly dominant left wing call for budget-busters from a “Green New Deal” to single-payer health care while studiously avoiding a solution to reopen government.

The real toll of the volatile stock market: Americans’ retirement
It’s not a Washington crisis yet, but the impact is coming faster than you think

OPINION — “I’m taking a beatin’ on my retirement funds. I’m sure I’m not the only one.”

Those feelings expressed by a 70-something retiree in a recent Midwestern focus group reflect a growing concern among average Americans about their ability to retire — and retire comfortably — in the aftermath of one of the worst Decembers in stock market history.

House Republicans came back from being written off before. They can again
Close 2018 midterm losses show a path for the GOP

OPINION — Through much of 2018 and especially in the weeks following the midterm elections, many opinion writers and other political pundits enthusiastically declared the Republican Party dead or at least relegated to life support.

The commentary was eerily reminiscent of the post-2006 declarations that the GOP was finished … over … no longer a viable political party.

All Is Not Lost for Republicans in the Suburbs
Party can regain its suburban advantage with a clearer economic message

OPINION — Will Ferrell once joked about his all-too-normal, stress-free upbringing: “Maybe that’s where comedy comes from, as some sort of reaction to the safe, boring suburbs.”

Safe? Boring? Not any more, especially not for Republicans this year. It was suburban voters — women and men — who voted Republican in 2010, 2014 and 2016 but leaned Democratic this year who played a major role in Republicans losing the House.

2018 Midterms: A Missed Opportunity for Republicans
They should have been touting good economic news. Instead they drowned it out

OPINION — We’ve assessed the 2018 campaign that began and ended with the fight for the election narrative. Our conclusion: This was not a base election. Independents decided the outcome, breaking for Democrats by 12 points.

It was a missed opportunity.

Independents Decided This Election. They’ll Decide the Next One Too
Everything depends on the people in the middle — the ones who don’t get up every day breathing fire

OPINION — There is a lot still to be learned from the midterm elections as analysts pour over incoming data, but one thing we do know is that this was a terribly divisive election, reflecting a growing disunity that isn’t good for either party or the nation.

Voters know it, too. The 2018 exit polls asked voters whether the country, politically, was becoming more or less divided. By a margin of 76 percent to 9 percent, people opted for “more divided,” an ominous sign that something has to change.

GOP Didn’t Have a Turnout Problem, It Had a Focus Problem
Turnout was high across the board, but Republicans minimized their No. 1 issue

OPINION — Did the 2018 midterm electorate break new political ground as the media had predicted for months or was it déjà vu all over again? The answer is both. 

In my last column before the election, I suggested that four key measurements would tell the story of this year’s midterms: party ID, ideology, turnout by unique voter groups (young voters and women), and how independents break.