George W. Bush’s push to privatize Social Security is sort of the sine qua non of unpopular policy initiatives. It got less popular the more he talked about it, he couldn’t even get a proposal to a vote in either house of a Republican-controlled Congress, and it almost certainly made him less popular. (It’s common to assume now that it was the mishandling of Katrina that permanently eroded Bush’s popularity, but his approval ratings were already on a sharp downward trajectory before late August.)
The “populist” Donald Trump, a new type of Republican who would orient the party in a more working-class friendly direction, would like Bush to hold his O’Douls:
Post-Reagan, there have been four major presidential legislative proposals less popular than Bush's Social Security privatization proposal. Trump's upper-class tax cut and attempted repeal of the ACA are two of them, with the latter being the least popular pic.twitter.com/WGgHJxW9or— Scott Lemieux (@LemieuxLGM) February 2, 2023
Turns out people don’t like upper-class tax cuts, and they really don’t like taking health insurance away from tens of millions of people to pay for upper-class tax cuts, which is a problem for Republicans since that’s all they have to offer in terms of domestic policy.
From The Bitter End, about which I will have more in the coming weeks.