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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Paige Winfield Cunningham reports at The Daily 202 that “Conservatives are furious – furious – that Senate Republicans got close to repealing big parts of Obamacare and are now on the verge of walking away from the effort altogether, possibly leaving President Obama’s health-care law on the books for the foreseeable future…Now, nothing is turning out as they’d hoped. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) intends to hold a vote early next week to start debate on a repeal bill. But unless senators can hash out an agreement on how to treat Medicaid spending — as they tried to do in a meeting last night in Sen. John Barrasso’s (R-Wyo.) office — it will likely fail…” Cunningham reports that groups like Freedomworks, Tea Party Patriots and Club for Growth are so angered that they have initiated ‘shaming’ campaigns to punish conservatives who announced against the GOP ‘repeal and replace’ bills.

In his syndicated Washington Post column, “Why Obamacare won and Trump lost,” E. J. Dionne, Jr. writes, “The collapse of the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act is a monumental political defeat wrought by a party and a president that never took health-care policy or the need to bring coverage to millions of Americans seriously…They had seven years after the law was passed and could not come up with a more palatable blueprint.” However, adds Dionne, “Supporters of the 2010 law cannot rest easy…On Wednesday, the president demanded that the Senate keep at the work of repeal, and, in any event, Congress could undermine the act through sharp Medicaid cuts in the budget process and other measures. And Trump, placing his own self-esteem and political standing over the health and security of millions of Americans, has threatened to wreck the system.”

At New York Magazine, Ed Kilgore explores three interim health care reforms, which could possibly leverage bipartisan support to help bridge the transition from Obamacare to a single payer or public option health care system: 1. Stabilizing individual insurance markets; 2. Keeping the maximum number of younger and healthier people in insurance risk pools; and 3. Broader nonideological reforms of the health-care system., including more flexibility at the state level for administering Medicaid and allowing people nearing retirement age to buy into Medicare coverage.

A stray, but hopeful thought, tickled by a friend’s Facebook observation: As health insurers realize how fast the public is warming to Medicare-for-all/single payer/public option, the insurance companies will fight harder for Obamacare. “We’re not seeing any evidence of a death spiral or a market collapse,” said Cynthia Cox, Kaiser’s associate director of health reform and private insurance (quoted in Paul Demko’s “Despite doomsday rhetoric, Obamacare markets are stabilizing” at Politico on July 17th). “Rather, what it looks like is insurers are on track to have their best year since the [Affordable Care Act] began.”

Steve Phillips, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and author of “Brown Is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority” has a New York Times op-ed, “The Democratic Party’s Billion-Dollar Mistake.” Among his observations:  “In the 2016 election, the Democratic Party committees that support Senate and House candidates and allied progressive organizations spent more than $1.8 billion. The effectiveness of that staggering amount of money, however, was undermined by a strategic error: prioritizing the pursuit of wavering whites over investing in and inspiring African-American voters, who made up 24 percent of Barack Obama’s winning coalition in 2012..”

At The Fix, Aaron Blake sees trouble ahead for Democrats in the new WaPo/ABC News poll, which “presents a pretty mixed bag for Democrats. It shows that registered voters say they want Democrats to control Congress to be a check on Trump by a 52-38 percent margin, but it also shows Democrats are — rather remarkably — less enthusiastic about voting than Republicans are. While 65 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning adults say they are “almost certain to vote,” just 57 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning adults say the same.”

Brendan Nyhan notes at The Upshot: “A new working paper by the Emory University political scientists B. Pablo Montagnes, Zachary Peskowitz and Joshua McCrain argues that people who identify as Republican may stop doing so if they disapprove of Trump, creating a false stability in his partisan approval numbers even as the absolute number of people approving him shrinks. Gallup data supports this idea, showing a four-percentage-point decline in G.O.P. identification since the 2016 election that is mirrored in other polling, though to a lesser extent…When the Emory political scientists use the Gallup data to account for Republicans who have stopped identifying with the party since the election, they find that partisan support for Trump could be substantially lower than it appears.”

For a little heavier lifting, check out Gabriel Winant’s “The New Working Class” at Dissent, which includes this take on the potential for working-class solidarity: “To imagine that we should look for “class” and see hard-hats mistakes a particular historical manifestation—the industrial working class—for a general category whose ranks are always changing. But while the idea of a new working class is not yet widely accepted, its distinguishing features are, on their own terms, familiar. We can reduce them down roughly to feminization, racial diversification, and increasing precarity: care work, immigrant work, low-wage work, and the gig economy. There’s also a host of interlinked forces shaping working-class life from outside the workplace: policing and punishment; housing insecurity; indebtedness; the costs of education; and the difficulties of caring for the young, the disabled, the sick, the addicted, and the old. A set of shared experiences coheres here, and a potential set of shared enemies: landlord, lender, bill collector, manager, cop. Racialized and gendered unevenness in exposure to these forces is real, but that portion of experience that is shared appears, quite clearly, to be growing year by year at the intensifying intersection points of race, gender, and class. This, the growing stock of common experience, is the process called “class formation.””

Trump as Buchanan 2.0: “The “miracle” of the mogul’s campaign, apart from his cunning success in manipulating negative media coverage to his advantage, was capturing the entirety of the Romney vote, without any of the major defections (college-educated Republican women, conservative Latinos, Catholics) that the polls had predicted and Clinton had counted upon. As in an Agatha Christie mystery, Trump eliminated his dazed primary opponents one after another with murderous innuendo while hammering away on his master themes of elite corruption, treasonous trade agreements (“greatest job theft in the history of the world”), terrorist immigrants, and declining white economic opportunity. With the support of Breitbart and the alt-right, he essentially ran in Patrick Buchanan’s old shoes.” – From Mike Davis’s “The Great God Trump and the White Working Class” at The Jacobin.

One comment on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Tex on

    If republicans (sic) repeal The Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) they will pay a price. One can only hope that the price is that the republican party is finally and totally destroyed!


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