Earlier this week, Congress was out of session, meaning many of them went home to meet with the public. For Republicans, it typically didn’t go well: they caught a lot of flak over the possible (probable?) repeal of the ACA (‘Obamacare’) as well as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, immigration, and Trump’s taxes/Russian connection. But from what I can tell (could be wrong!), the overwhelming anger was reserved for the issue of possible ACA repeal.
A couple days ago, I noted that Republican voters are about to learn what happens when there are no Democrats in a position to protect Republican voters from themselves. Well, the flip side of that is that Democrats and ‘Democratic-leaners’ are terrified about losing the ACA.
Despite the ACA’s critical flaw–lower-middle class and middle class people get screwed on the premiums, and then get jobbed on the deductibles and co-payments–it is literally a life saver for millions of people. It allows people to afford (or even just get) healthcare if they have pre-existing conditions. It removed lifetime insurance caps. And the plans typically prevented catastrophic high-five, even six-figure medical debts.
So people, regardless of party have a lot to lose. Unlike other issues, most people have themselves or know someone who has experienced a serious, expensive illness. And that’s before we get to possible Medicaid cuts–which might make nursing home care more expensive. This is a ‘real’ issue. Unlike many issues dredged out of the fever swamps of the right, there are real, not imaginary, never-to-realize consequences to screwing up healthcare–not that it’s especially amazing to begin with (to be clear opposing, for example, gay marriage is awful. But the existence of married gay couples has no tangible effect on your own marriage. Unless one of you is secretly gay–then it might).
When people have a lot to lose in real, concrete terms–that is, when people think they might become (more) sick or die, they will fight very, very hard. They will be uncivil. While I thought healthcare might be a difficult problem for the Republicans (if nothing else, it’s really not possible to move further to the right), I underestimated the fury this would create. This is radicalizing and mobilizing people who are terrified they might drop out of the middle class.
The Republican dog finally caught the car. Now the pain, for them, sets in.