Saturday, June 17, 2017

Will Voters Oust Republicans From Power In 2018? Bigly!


My neighbor keeps complaining to me that Trump isn’t been impeached yet. She wants to know when it will happen. She doesn’t want to hear that the most obvious answer is in 2018 when theDemocrats take over the House. So I explain to her that if a time comes when more Republicans in Congress feel their own jobs are in jeopardy from supporting Trump than from abandoning Trump, that’s when they could possibly move. The problem, of course, is that all those national numbers showing Trump’s cascading approval numbers are not spread evenly across districts. In many safe Republican seats Trump’s approval is good enough to not be a threat to Republican incumbents. But even in those areas there are reasons to believe that Trump’s support is finally starting to crack.

That AP poll we mentioned yesterday, has some overwhelmingly troubling-- if you’re Republican-- headlines. For one thing, 65% of American voters said Señor Trumpanzee doesn't have much or even any respect for the country's democratic institutions and traditions. That 65% includes nearly a third of Republicans or Republican-leaning independents. A shockingly low 35% of voters approve of the job he's doing. And a quarter of Republican voters agree he’s doing a bad job. A quarter isn’t enough to shake the resolve of incumbents in deep red districts. But swing district Republicans are in full panic mode. Here’s where it gets problematic for Republicans: about 50% of whites without a college degree-- one of Trump's most loyal demographic groups-- still approve of the job the president is doing but that's down 8 percentage points since AP’s March poll. And every survey indicates that approval for congressional Republicans is being driven down by Trump’s taint-- although a case could be made that it’s their stink that’s ruining it for Trump, especially Paul Ryan’s lifelong dream to destroy the American healthcare system. By embracing his notions and accepting them as “TrumpCare”-- despite how starkly they differ from TRump’s campaign promises-- Trump has destroyed his own credibility and is destroying the hope many of his own supporters had in him.

Look at Jonathan Swan’s report for Axios about the fallout from Trump’s comments about how Ryan’s healthcare package is “mean.” Those “private” comment about TrumpCare being “mean” is “having a lingering, and potentially devastating, effect on his credibility among House Republicans. Members are still talking about Trump's comment, and their frustration that he'd throw them under the bus is likely to damage his ability to negotiate on major items like infrastructure and tax reform.”
In the House Ways & Means Committee markup today, there was discussion among a couple of Dems and Republican members, with a Democrat saying:
“See, we told you your health care bill was mean. Now the president agrees with us.”
A source familiar with the conversation said the Democrat was touching on an issue that remains "hot" among Republicans.

A number of members of Congress have told Axios that Trump and Pence lobbied the bill like nothing they'd ever seen, using superlatives such as calling it a "great bill."

Members who Trump urged to take a risk and pass the bill are now seeing him turn his back on them. One member said Trump was on the phone urging people to support it, and "for him to turn around and do this, it's stunning. I can't believe it.”
One of Vox’s healthcare policy experts, Sarah Kliff, reported on Thursday that the GOP desire to keep the country from knowing what’s in their healthcare bill is becoming more obvious every day “as the Senate plots out a secretive path toward Obamacare repeal— and top White House officials (including the president) consistently lie about what the House bill actually does.”
“The extreme secrecy is a situation without precedent, at least in creating health care law” writes Julie Rovner, who has covered health care politics since 1986 and is arguably the dean of the DC health care press corps.

I don’t have quite as long of a tenure as Rovner, but I have been covering health care politics since Democrats began debating the Affordable Care Act in 2009. It’s become obvious to me, particularly this week, that Republicans plan to move more quickly and less deliberatively than Democrats did in drafting the Affordable Care Act. They intend to do this despite repeatedly and angrily criticizing the Affordable Care Act for being moved too quickly and with too little deliberation.

My biggest concern isn’t the hypocrisy; there is plenty of that in Washington. It’s that the process will lead to devastating results for millions of Americans who won’t know to speak up until the damage is done. So far, the few details that have leaked out paint a picture of a bill sure to cover millions fewer people and raise costs on those with preexisting conditions.

The plan is expected to be far-reaching, potentially bringing lifetime limits back to employer-sponsored coverage, which could mean a death sentence for some chronically ill patients who exhaust their insurance benefits.

Senate Republicans do not appear to be focused on carefully crafting policy that reflects a more conservative, free-market attempt at achieving President Donald Trump’s goals of covering every American at lower cost. They’re focused on passing something, by whatever means necessary. That may come back to haunt them electorally, but not after millions suffer the consequences.

…[T]he Senate is running a remarkably closed process. There are no committee hearings. There are no floor speeches defending the policy provisions of the bill. Senate Majority Mitch McConnell instead has assembled an ad hoc working group to hash out the details of Obamacare repeal in private meetings.

The biggest priority seems to be just passing a bill, regardless of what the bill actually looks like. Tierney Sneed, a reporter for Talking Points Memo, recently asked Sen. Orrin Hatch, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, whether it was important to get the bill out a few days before the vote, so the public could review its provisions.

His response was telling. “Well, I think we’re not worried so much about that as we are getting it together so we can get a majority to vote for it,” he said.

Vice President Mike Pence visited the Health and Human Services Department on Tuesday and delivered a speech to the agency’s employees.

“Now I know this room is filled with men and women who care deeply about bringing high-quality health care to every American,” Pence said. “Rest assured, Donald Trump wants the exact same thing.”

Trump is not acting that way, though. He held a Rose Garden ceremony last month to laud a bill that would cause 23 million Americans to lose coverage-- a bill he praised as “incredibly well-crafted.”

This is now a consistent pattern from top Trump officials, who have decided that their strategy to hide the Republican health care plan will be to not tell the truth about what it actually does.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has appeared on national television and claimed that Americans will “absolutely not” lose Medicaid coverage under the House-passed bill. Two separate, independent analyses of the AHCA find this isn’t true. Millions of Medicaid enrollees would lose coverage under that bill.

Trump himself gave an interview to CBS in April where he said that people with preexisting conditions would be protected under the AHCA. They won’t be: At the time he gave that interview, the bill had been amended to allow states to opt out of the requirement to charge people with preexisting conditions the same prices as healthy enrollees, a move that will almost certainly price some patients out of coverage.

Trump said that deductibles will go down under the Republican plan. Nonpartisan analysis expects deductibles will go up.

The White House has decided to deal with an unpopular bill by refusing to acknowledge the parts of the bill that the public doesn’t like. When asked in interviews about the expected loss in coverage or cuts to Medicaid, administration officials simply act as if they don’t exist.

At some point, of course, this strategy will catch up with Republicans. Promises that “every American” will receive “high-quality health care” will ring false when millions lose their health insurance. Once a law passes, it’s awfully hard to hide the consequences.

Republicans might lose elections if they pass the American Health Care Act. But that will only happen after people suffer the consequences of a rushed bill considered quickly with little public debate.

These are people like 62-year-old Cliff Hoskins, a retired coal miner who lives in rural Kentucky. He used to be on Medicaid expansion-- he described it as the best insurance he ever had-- and now has coverage through the ACA marketplace.

His out-of-pocket premium would likely triple under key Republican health care provisions.

“It’s going to at least take half, if not all, of my Social Security,” Hoskins says. “If I had to pay the full amount, that would not be good. That would put you back in poverty.”

…Voters can oust Republicans in the 2018 midterm elections if they don’t like the health care plan. But for people like Cliff… the damage will already be done. The election is secondary to [his] ability to get health insurance coverage. This is the most damaging part of the lack of public discourse around the Republican repeal efforts: There are millions of real lives at stake that could be hurt. These people would suffer the consequences that will happen much faster and matter much more than any election.
Did you see that list this morning of 70-odd Republican incumbents who could lose their seats in a 5 point swing away from Trump’s 2016 performance in the 2018 midterms? A 5 point swing looks like a very conservative estimate of what’s likely to happen. Trump is going to drown his party in a lake of raw sewage in a way that it could be a decade before they recover. Why is Karen Handel polling so poorly in a deep red Georgia district, even after Ryan and Trump directed tens of million of dollars into media buys? National Republicans blame her miserable debate performance. People in her campaign whisper about the toxicity of Trump and Ryan, a deadly association in the current political climate.

Friday, Alex Isenstadt reported that “the GOP is bracing for the prospect of a loss in Tuesday’s Georgia’s special election that could have far-reaching implications for President Donald Trump and his party’s fortunes in 2018.”
While no one is willing to publicly write off Handel’s chances just yet-- Republicans stress that she remains competitive and point to robust GOP early voting figures-- several private surveys taken over the last few weeks show Republican nominee Karen Handel trending downward, with one private party poll showing 30-year-old Democrat Jon Ossoff opening up a more than five-point lead in the Republican-oriented, suburban Atlanta seat.

“If we’re losing upper middle class, suburban seats in the South to a 30-year-old progressive liberal, we would be foolish not to be deeply concerned about the possibility that would exist for a tidal wave election for Democrats in 2018,” said Chip Lake, a Georgia-based Republican strategist and former Capitol Hill chief of staff.

…Regardless of the outcome, Republicans appear to be taking a lesson from the contest: the president’s support is diminishing in some of the key districts that will determine the House’s balance of power-- places like Georgia’s 6th District, which is filled with the upper-income and highly-educated suburban voters and was never especially enamored of the president in the first place.

“It defines the kind of district where Trump struggles,” said Whit Ayres, a Handel pollster. “He was never particularly popular, and he hasn’t gotten more so since he was inaugurated.”

Ayres said that Republican voters were more energized now than in April, but argued that Trump's unpopularity in the district was the primary reason why the race was still close.

…With the election still days away, some Republicans are already pointing fingers at Handel— a tried-and-true Washington tactic. In the White House, some officials have privately derided her as a frequent candidate for public office who isn’t the kind of fresh face necessary to win. Others are second-guessing her campaign team. During a Sunday appearance on “The Georgia Gang,” a public affairs TV show, longtime party hand and conservative commentator Phil Kent criticized the campaign’s decision to hold a fundraiser instead of a public rally with Pence.

Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole, a former NRCC chairman, said he was nervous about the Georgia race but felt confident the party had done all it could. The special election, he said, was a reflection of a challenging national environment the GOP was coming to terms with.

“No one here is whistling past the political graveyard and we understand this cycle will be intense, and that it will test our hold on the majority," he said. "We may or may not hold the majority, but it won't be for lack of effort.”

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At 6:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't bet very often, because I can't afford to lose. But I'd be willing to bet $10 that I can barely afford that the Democrats will blow this opportunity. I doubt I'd make much, because I'm certain the punters will only offer even odds.

At 7:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look, it's far too early to predict a political event in 17 months. Talk about issues but don't predict anything, especially the demise of the R house. You're setting yourself up for disappointment, bigly.

never misunderestimate the stupidity and evil of American voters. NEVER!!

And you obviously forgot that Pelosi will be the D house leadershit in 2018 and she has already reiterated her pledge that "impeachment is off the table". You forgot didn't you?

Or do you also suffer from optimistic delusions... like all the rapture believers?

At 10:09 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Reform is always preceded by suffering. If not for the tattered remains of FDR's social safety net, the great recession would have been as hurtful as the Great D. Ryan, Trump & friends may be the spark that starts the fire.

At 9:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FDR was elected in a year where there were not many ways to rig elections; he ran as a not-as-bad rich guy and implemented policies that were far from his campaign promises -- because they were necessary. They were also popular... after the fact.
Most Rs in 1932 (well, R voters anyway) actually gave a fuck about the nation.
Voters in '32 were, I'm ABSOLUTELY sure, much smarter than today.

All this meant that nonviolent revolution was POSSIBLE.

Anyone remember the words of JFK?

Today the Rs and their voters only care about their greed and hate and greed.
D voters only care to vote NOT for the R.
No large swath of voters today can think their way out of a wet paper bag with large holes.
The Rs have rigged elections and gerrymandered the entire nation to keep their majorities forever.
The Ds are corrupt and only care about their donations and donors.

In spite of what history should have taught us, Rs and their donors (who also own the Ds) want to return to the '20s.
Voters are far too stupid to understand what that means, even as we are experiencing the same "hurtfulness" as then.
There can be no candidates today like FDR then because both parties cull all such altruists long before they run and will defraud anyone who sneaks in by mistake (see what happened to Bernie; see also: superdelegates are for just such a purpose).
Therefore there can be no peaceful change today.
There will be that fire. But what after?

Again, remember the words of JFK.

At 1:55 AM, Anonymous hellen said...

he people of Wisconsin have already seen how a single election can completely change an entire state. Americans are now seeing on a grand level what we saw on a smaller one. Gerrymandering and voter suppression are keeping people


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