Saturday, December 16, 2023

the last book I ever read (Romney: A Reckoning by McKay Coppins, excerpt six)

from Romney: A Reckoning by McKay Coppins:

And yet, there were moments on the campaign trail when the absurdities of partisanship got to him. During one rally, he’d later recall, the crowd roared with approval after he called for the repeal of the “death tax.” This was not a position he felt strongly about, but no one ever lost a Republican primary supporting a tax cut, and the line usually got a good response. “It was one of those things you say because you don’t know what you’re talking about when you’re first running for president,” he’d tell me. But at this particular rally, while he watched the crowd cheer, he was struck with an inconvenient moment of clarity: none of these people would ever be subjected to a “death tax.” The estate tax, which was designed as a bulwark against entrenched aristocracy by limiting the amount of wealth passed from one generation to the next, only applied to fortunes of $2 million or more. Repealing it probably wouldn’t help a single one of the farmers or mechanics or middle-class office workers in the audience. So why were they all cheering?

The answer, he realized, was a grim kind of team loyalty—This is what my side is for, so this is what I support. It all felt so absurd in that moment, so bleak. He chose not to dwell on the thought for too long.

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