Sunday, March 26, 2017

Holding Republicans Who Wanted To Take Away Their Constituents' Health Insurance Accountable


Let's go beyond the orgy of recriminations and finger-pointing over the massive and devastating Ryan-Trump-Pence-Price health care loss. This weekend, Wall Street Journal readers are being told to see it as "a major blow to the Trump Presidency, the GOP majority in Congress, and especially to the cause of reforming and limiting government."
The damage is all the more acute because it was self-inflicted. President Trump was right to say on Friday that Democrats provided no help, but Democrats were never going to vote to repeal President Obama ’s most important legislation. And that’s no excuse. Republicans have campaigned for more than seven years on repealing and replacing ObamaCare, and they finally have a President ready to sign it. In the clutch they choked.
The Journal accused the Freedom Caucus of sabotage: "When one of their demands was met, they dug in and made another until they exceeded what the rest of the GOP conference could concede. You can’t have a good-faith negotiation when one party doesn’t know how to say yes-- or won’t." They suggest that Señor Trumpanzee may be able to recover from this debacle, but as an opening act to a new Presidency the collapse of his first legislative campaign is ominous. In business Señor Trumpanzee "liked to 'get even.' He’s got some scores to settle with the Freedom Caucus." That was an unsigned editorial.

The writer wasn't interested in facing the fact that the bill was untenable and indefensible-- and politically suicidal. The Washington Post documented calls coming into Congress over the last day or two before Ryan pulled the bill and finally threw it in the trash. Calls to House members in support of Trumpcare: 1,130. Calls to House members in opposition to Trumpcare: 59,337. And not just to Democratic members. This bill was unpopular among Republican voters, especially among Republican voters in swing districts. In a poll released Thursday by Garin-Hart-Yang for Priorities USA and Patriot Majority USA, it became obvious Ryan shouldn't force Republicans-- in the words of Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton-- to walk the plank by voting for this hated concoction. Forget the frightening enough national 17% approval rating, the poll looked at 20 battleground congressional districts currently held by Republicans-- including 11 carried by Hillary Clinton in November, and nine carried by Donald Trump. These are the Clinton districts polled:
AZ-02- Martha McSally had announced she was voting yes
CA-25- Steve Knight was flip-flopping all over the place
CA-45- Mimi Walters had announced she was voting yes
CA-49- Darrell Issa flip flopped half a dozen times between yes and no
CO-06- Mike Coffman had announced he was a yes vote
IL-06- Peter Roskam was always a big supporter of TrumpCare
MN-03- Erik Paulsen said he was likely to vote yes
NY-24- John Katko wisely read the tea-leaves and came out against the bill at the last minute
PA-07- Pat Meehan was another likely yes vote but said he was undecided to the end.
VA-10- Barbara Comstock got scared at the last minute and said she was opposed.
These are the districts polled that went for Trump in November but where buyers' remorse appears to be strong now and which the Democrats may target in 2018:
FL-18- Brain Mast was a strong TrumpCare supporter
IA-01- Rod Blum wanted an even more draconian bill
IA-03- David Young announced he would vote no and Ryan's superPAC cut off his campaign funds
ME-02- Bruce Poliquin was consistent-- as a tap-dancer who never told anyone how he would vote
MN-02- Jason Lewis voted for Trumpcare in the House Budget Committee
NY-01- Lee Zeldin never wavered in his TrumpCare support
NY-19- John Faso was a little flip-floppy but he voted for the bill in the House Budget Committee
PA-08- Brian Fitzpatrick came out against the bill after the CBO report
VA-02- Scott Taylor was a zombie-like supporter.
All 20 districts have something in common today-- aside from having a Republican copngressmember-- dissatisfaction with TrumpCare. The survey found that information about the Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act-- combined with voters knowing their Republican member of Congress supports the plan-- resulted in a net 13-point swing away from the Republicans in the vote for Congress, including substantial movement in districts President Trump carried in November.
Across districts, Republican incumbents (respondents each heard the name of their own representative) have a 35% positive and 30% negative personal favorability rating-- with a combined 35% saying they are neutral or don’t know enough to offer an opinion. (This compares to a much cooler 39% positive, 51% negative rating toward President Trump, even though this set of districts as a whole was evenly split in November.) Across districts, the Republicans’ job approval stands at 46% approve, 34% disapprove, with 1 in 5 (20%) volunteering that they are not sure.

At the outset of the poll, voters are inclined to re-elect their incumbent over a generic Democratic challenger, but only by 44% to 38%-- with these Republicans notably under the 50% mark. With no information given, Trump districts vote for the Republican by 9 points (43% to 34%) with almost 1 in 4 (23%) saying they are not sure, while Clinton districts begin at a near dead heat (43% Republican, 42% Democrat).

However, on both approval and the trial heat for Congress, there is potential for real, substantial movement toward the Democrats--including in districts Trump won in November. After hearing a positive argument in favor of the GOP plan, information about its provisions and consequences, and messages against their own incumbent for supporting it, we are able to really move the needle in a way that is rarely driven by a single issue, as it is in this case. Overall, voters move from approving of their congressperson by 12 points (46% approve, 34% disapprove) to disapproving by 21 points (35% approve, 56% disapprove)-- a net shift of 33 percentage points. This includes a net shift of 31 points across the Clinton districts (47% approve, 36% disapprove to 37% approve, 57% disapprove) as well as a notable 36-point shift across the Trump districts (44% approve, 32% disapprove to 32% approve, 56% disapprove).

And movement on the actual vote for Congress is substantial as well, including a net 13-point shift away from the Republicans among voters overall.

...Despite President Trump’s warnings that House Republicans will lose their seats if they do not repeal the ACA, this poll suggests that support for this proposal presents a significant danger for Republicans come 2018. Democrats have a clear opportunity to harness the current battle over ACA repeal-- an issue with which voters are unusually engaged, and one which affects them directly-- to show that their Republican members of Congress are not looking out for them, instead putting the health and economic wellbeing of Americans at risk. Finally, instead of focusing on only a narrow swath of districts carried by Hillary Clinton in November, this poll suggests that communicating across a wider playing field of competitive districts can potentially pay big dividends for Democrats in 2018.
The bottom line takeaway is this: on the average, when those surveyed were told their Republican member of Congress supported the plan, they moved from saying they would reelect their congressman, 44-38, to saying they will elect a Democratic challenger, 45-38 (a net 13-point swing away from the Republicans).

Dr. David Gill is an ardently progressive, long-time Medicare-for-all candidate for Congress in central Illinois' swingy 13th district, which runs from up in Normal, western Bloomington and Champaign and heads south through Decatur to Calhoun and Jersey counties in the suburbs north of St. Louis. The district profile would have worked perfectly for the poll but it wasn't included. This was Bernie country in the primary but Trump won it in November-- 49.7% to 44.2%. On March 17, the clueless incumbent, Rodney Davis, tweeted that TrumpCare was "must pass legislation." A week earlier he told the News-Gazette that he was proud of TrumpCare. When we asked Dr. Gill about Davis' support for TrumpCare and his refusal to hold public town hall meetings with his constituents he told us he was "extremely disappointed to learn that Mr. Davis is supportive of the American Healthcare Act of 2017, aka Trumpcare. This disastrous bill is a tax break for the millionaires and billionaires wrapped in a terrible healthcare bill, which strips insurance coverage from tens of millions of Americans. How can Mr. Davis even be sure that this is what his constituents want, given his repeated refusal to meet with his constituents on this issue?

Blue America has endorsed him and you can contribute to his campaign here. He reminded us that "while Davis won't face his constituents, I can and will. I've been a practicing physician for nearly 30 years, and over that time I've gained a great understanding of healthcare and its financing. As a small businessman, I'm well aware of the flaws of our current healthcare system. While Obamacare has its problems, I have the expertise to fix them. As a member of Physicians for a National Health Program, I have been a supporter of a single-payer healthcare system for the last 25 years. Rodney Davis has spent almost 20 years receiving taxpayer-funded healthcare coverage; this is ironic, given his intention to strip 43,000 of his constituents of their healthcare coverage."

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At 7:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again, voters are not only morons, generally, they also suffer from amnesia.
Once the next cluster fuck issue takes over, they forget the last one.
By November of 2018, this whole thing will be totally forgotten.

Let's just see what happens when the big tax cuts for the rich hits the floor. Now here is where there will be true bipartisanship. Both (or all 3) sides of the money party are for these; the rich pay bribes to nearly everyone to get this done; this will happen.

And voters -- again, total morons -- will take their tiny little tax cuts and feel like they won the day... while their idiot gummint expands the debt.

And shortly after? They'll cry that expanding the debt is "bad" so they "must" start cutting those evil "entitlements" like SSI, Medicare, Medicaid (again), UI, VA, etc. Another consequence might be to start selling off national lands (for extraction). Voters generally (morons) will probably be ok with all of these.

As an aside, I'm struck by ryan's astonishing admission. The Rs, in spite of having a majority in the house since 2010, have been simple-minded obstructionists who hate government. Now they have all 3 (or 4) branches. NOW they have to try to govern... and they can't. The unitary is a petulant baby with ADHD. The house is a kindergarten who can't agree on which candy store is best. And the senate is a collection of scrooges.

The democraps are irrelevant numerically so, naturally, they've found unanimity on something -- keeping the deeply flawed obamneycare. Not on keeping Nazis out of the cabinet nor, likely, keeping a whiter scalia (gorsuch) out of the SC. But on keeping a shitty law because THEY passed it.

I'm awaiting anxiously how they're going to justify to their dwindling base their bipartisanship on cutting taxes for the billionaires.

At 8:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With the R prez a tantrum-throwing baby and the R house unable to agree on how many/fast to kill poor people and the R senate unable to kill anyone unless the house agrees... and the democraps numerically irrelevant, it's pretty obvious the us is rudderless and ungovernable. They'll all likely find a way to make billionaires richer and put even more than the current 50 million others into poverty... but that's about all.

And, of course, the prez can start more wars when, not if, he wants.

At 12:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It wasn't a health car bill it was a fucking tax cut for billionaires.


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