In this episode, we discuss the failed Obamacare repeal and the implications it has going forward, both among the Republican party’s base and among 2018 general election voters.
Segment 1: What Went Wrong, What Next?
- While the specific blame has been spread pretty much everywhere in Republican circles in Washington, there are clearly major differences among House Republicans that may have doomed the effort from the beginning. Both the Freedom Caucus and moderate Republicans were critical of the bill, and each time concessions were made to one group, Congressional leaders lost support from the other. In the end, as the New York Times helpfully details, both groups kept the bill from reaching the 215 votes needed to pass.
- While the fight over the bill exposed the fault lines in Washington, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey shows that few voters strongly supported it, and that 44% of voters want the Republicans to move on to other issues. The fact is that the bill was never that popular among voters, and so this failure may not turn out to be as disastrous as is being reported.
- Still, there are clearly lessons to be learned here for President Trump and Congressional Republicans. Byron York has a helpful breakdown at the Washington Examiner.
Segment 2: Impact on 2018 Midterm Elections
- If the failure to repeal and replace Obamacare turns out to be symptomatic of larger forces in Washington that prevent the Trump administration from fulfilling any of the big promises made to voters over the past year, we could be looking at a Democratic wave election next year.
- For historical context, in the 2006 midterms, Democrats gained 30 seats in the House and 6 seats in the Senate to take control of both houses for the first time since 1994. In the 2010 midterms, Republicans gained 64 seats in the house and 6 seats in the Senate, to regain control of the House. And in the 2014 midterms, Republicans gained an additional 13 seats in the House and won back control of the Senate.
- The precedent, then, for midterms, is for the President’s party to lose seats. However, next year’s Senate map is very favorable for Republicans. And though there are 23 House seats that voted for Hillary Clinton and are currently held by Republicans, even if Democrats were to sweep those 23 seats it would not be enough for them to win back control of the House. Perhaps the best opportunity for Democrats to make gains is in Governor’s races, where they generally face a more favorable environment where Republicans are in the position of having to defend seats that are more or less toss-ups.