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KXAN: Trump campaign, RNC, and Texas GOP pitch the economy in Austin

August 29, 2019

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Despite flurry around racially-charged statements, an ongoing trade war, and recent poll numbers showing Democratic candidates defeating the incumbent President Donald Trump in 2020, national and state Republicans pitch a consistent message: the President’s policies have led to the longest economic expansion in history.

Thursday, the Trump Victory campaign, the Republican National Committee, and the Texas GOP hosted an economic roundtable at Thomas Graphics, a printing shop, as part of a nationwide tour called “Open for Business.”

James Dickey, Chairman of the Texas GOP, led the discussion with local business owners and focused on the 2017 tax cut package and President Trump’s ongoing mission to roll back government regulations.

“It is so easy for people to take for granted what things are working well just because things are working well. It is important to take a moment and remind people that it’s not all accidental,” said Dickey.

Texas — and its 38 electoral votes — has the best chance in several decades to vote Democratic statewide. Republican politicians and campaign operatives know this and are pushing to get the credit for a vibrant economy and low unemployment rate.

Employment at Thomas Graphics in North Austin is on the rise. They just hired 3 new people to work the two new hybrid printing press machines. They’re looking to hire two more. The President of Thomas Graphics, Bob Thomas, says because of the 2017 tax cuts he was able to expand and write-off 80% of the new equipment on his taxes. That made his business $30-40,000 more a month.

“As the economy goes so goes the country and President Trump’s economic policies are amazing,” said Thomas.

What’s new and different this year is the size and timing of this Republican effort, so far from the 2020 election.

“They’re afraid. That’s why they’re investing so much money in Texas. That’s why they’re doing events right now. You look at it and Texas is the biggest battleground state in the country,” said Abhi Rahman from the Texas Democratic Party.

Austin Congressman Lloyd Doggett noted the presence of the Trump campaign in Central Texas and told KXAN they have little to campaign on.

“The incredible, daily uncertainty of the Trump roller coaster ride accompanied by an unhealthy dose of hate speech signals trouble ahead,” said Rep. Doggett, “With wages stagnant and income inequality widening, Trump rejects investments in infrastructure, education and job training, while denying immigrants an opportunity to contribute their talents to build an economy that works for all Americans.”

There is also an inherent risk in President Trump campaigning so openly on the economy: if a recession comes before the election, voters could blame him as responsible.