Less than 60 days into the presidency of Donald Trump, analysts are saying that the political fallout could doom the Republican Party to an electoral bloodbath in the 2018 elections.
Politico.com reported Wednesday that the GOP’s floundering effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is shaping up to be the defining issue of the election cycle, “one big enough to rattle the foundations of Donald Trump-era Washington and beyond.”
Politico’s Gabriel Debenedetti said that the “blast radius of failure” will not stop at gaining majorities in the House and Senate, but could rival the Tea Party wave that handed statehouses and governors’ mansions across the country to far-right Republicans in 2010.
He pointed to efforts by both Pres. Bill Clinton in 1994 and Barack Obama in 2009 to improve the U.S. healthcare system — both of which were followed by historic ballot box defeats.
“(I)n 1994, Democrats went from control of 29 governors mansions to 19 and lost more than 15 state legislative chambers,” Debenedetti said. “In addition to losing the House in 2010, Democrats were forced to watch their 26-24 edge in governorships turn into a 29-20 Republican majority. And Republicans gained nearly 700 seats in state legislatures across the nation.”
He predicts a similar backlash against Republicans in 2018, a sentiment echoed by Indiana Rep. Baron Hill, a Democrat unseated in the 2010 election.
“The town hall meetings that these Republicans are having? There’s more energy in our side than in a long, long time, [and] the same ingredients are involved this time around that were around in 2010, and that’s anger. Anger that gets people motivated,” he told Politico.
“We’ve got to remind everybody that Republicans are in total control right now,” Hill said. “They cannot run away from what they’re doing.”
While some Republican leaders are downplaying risks of political damage to the party, others are quietly attempting to distance themselves from what is now being called the American Health Care Act and “alt-right” hub Breitbart.com has declared all-out war on the bill.
“All of this is taking place as support for the ACA has been rising in polls and the media focuses on the 24 million projected to lose their health insurance under the GOP’s replacement measure,” wrote Debenedetti.