Will Republicans hold onto their majority in the government come 2018, having enacted, presumably, at least a first part to their Trump-led vision of making America “great again”?
According to most available data, that question is far from easy to answer. Republicans might be getting ready to feel just how big of a fluke Donald Trump’s election actually was and lose their majority in the House of Representatives come the 2018 midterm elections.
Quite simply, the overall arc of the Trump Administration, should it continue as it is at present, is almost certain to weigh heavily on Republicans running for Congress in 2018. If hatred for Trump builds up for two more years, then it’s going to be hard for Congressional Republican candidates to get away from that.
Their case isn’t helped by the fact that the pace of the Republican dominated Congress actually getting things done at all, let alone accomplishing things that GOP voters want, is slower than that of a snail drunk on molasses. The first major legislative push of this Congressional session went down in flames to the deep frustration of everyone involved.
Congressional Republican leadership tried to take advantage of someone occupying the White House who is sympathetic to their causes to push through a repeal of Obamacare, but even after seven years of sticking to the talking point of how important it supposedly was to repeal the ACA, they couldn’t pull it off. “TrumpCare” sunk after the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus refused to cast their support behind the measure, saying that it was little more than “Obamacare 2.0.”
Sure, House Republicans are still working on it, and there’s talk of a deal being struck with the House Freedom Caucus to create a healthcare policy bill that they will support. However, even if House Republicans manage to pull off passing an Obamacare replacement, that doesn’t mean that it’s going to be good for their electoral chances, at least in theory.
The House Freedom Caucus supports slashing the ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions from overbearing insurance companies. If that slashing actually becomes law, then there are going to be millions of people affected negatively, and from a practical perspective, those people aren’t necessarily likely to support Republicans in the 2018 elections.
A former staffer with the National Republican Congressional Committee put it this way to The Hill:
‘If we’re going to let the Freedom Caucus get [rid] of coverage for preexisting conditions, we might as well give up the House right now. Those TV ads could be deadly.’
Indeed, they very well might be. Slashing protections that have been in place for almost a decade for people with pre-existing conditions isn’t likely to be popular.
Concurrent to the unsurprisingly worried former NRCC staffer, a former staffer with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee commented optimistically to The Hill on Democrats’ chances of winning back the House majority, which they last held prior to the 2010 election:
‘For certain demographics, they’re putting forward policies that have the potential to really turn off voters that Democrats need. A number of things Republicans have proposed … they’re totally toxic to older Americans. The number of opportunities the Democrats have may be smaller [than in 2006], but there’s still a pathway to win the majority.’
For now, nothing is certain, but it’s all worth paying attention to.
Featured Image via Win McNamee/Getty Images