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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Creamer: Ruling Will Secure a Healthier America, Electrify Dem Base

This item by TDS Contributor and Democratic political strategist Robert Creamer, author of Stand Up Straight: How Progressives Can Win, is cross-posted from HuffPost, where it was originally published on June 29, 2012.
The most important thing about today’s Supreme Court health care decision is the victory for the millions of Americans who will live longer, happier, healthier lives because of the new health care law.
It is also an historic day for the thousands of health care warriors who have fought to make health care a right in America for decades and have finally seen their struggle rewarded with success.
But the Supreme Court’s decision has massive political implications as well:
First, this victory will send another bolt of electricity through Obama’s base. Nothing succeeds better than a hard-fought victory at pumping people up — and firing them up for the next great battle. The victory will send thousands of volunteers streaming into Obama campaign offices — and millions of dollars into its coffers. It will invigorate Obama’s army of volunteers.
It is particularly important when coupled with the president’s decision two weeks ago, protecting Dream Students from deportation. That decision already had a major impact on enthusiasm among Obama supporters — and particularly Latinos.
Their Supreme Court defeat will also dispirit the right-wing — particularly because they were abandoned by their own iconic, conservative Chief Justice who wrote the opinion finding the law constitutional.
Enthusiasm is a huge factor in electoral politics.
Second, the Romney campaign — and Republican candidates across the board — have now been forced to double down on repealing the entire bill. They will argue that now, the only way to get rid of the bill is to elect a new president and a Republican House and Senate.
Opponents of health care for all can no longer rely on arguing that the bill is an “unconstitutional usurpation” of government authority. No less a conservative icon than Chief Justice John Roberts found the law constitutional.
Since Obama Care is now a reality, Democrats can now move from defense to offense on health care.
By supporting repeal of the entire law, Republicans also support taking away the law’s protections against discrimination because of pre-existing conditions.
They support taking away access to free preventive health care for seniors.
They support taking away health care from millions of young people who can now stay on their parent’s insurance policies until they are 26 years old.
They support taking away access to contraception for women.
They support taking away enhanced prescription drug coverage for seniors.
They support taking away provisions that no longer allow discrimination against women.
They support taking away provisions that prevent people from being just one serious illness away from bankruptcy.
The support ending provisions that require that insurance companies can must spend 80 percent of their premium dollars on medical care — not on administrative costs and profits.
People may be afraid of things they don’t know much about. That helps explain some of the past opposition to the health care law by people who would benefit from it. But people are furious when you try to take something away from them. Romney will lose that argument over the months ahead.
Third, ironically, the past unpopularity of the law now positions the president as a strong, resolute leader, who does things because they are right — not because they are politically popular.
Passing health care reform was incredibly difficult and politically risky. Barack Obama is a leader that is a committed to principle — the mirror opposite to Mitt Romney, who has no core values whatsoever. Most voters want leaders who stand up for what they believe. That is a huge advantage for Barack Obama’s candidacy for re-election.
Finally, the Supreme Court victory creates political momentum. In politics as in sports, momentum — the bandwagon — is absolutely critical to the outcome. People like winners — they like to be with winners. Today Barack Obama — and the people of the United States — were winners.
That fact will give the president a major boost — a long-term boost — among swing voters over the months ahead.
This is a very, very big day for the lives of ordinary Americans.
It is also a very, very big day for the critical November battle that will chart our nation’s future.

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