Republicans are in pretty sorry shape heading into the midterm elections, with some of their biggest ghouls in danger of losing their seats due to a wave of anti-GOP and anti-Trump sentiment. So naturally, the people in charge of the party are choosing this particular moment to double down on an effort to repeal Obamacare, an idea which nearly everyone who isn’t on MAGA Twitter loathes.
While Republicans have privately kept pushing the idea, Caitlin Owens at Axios points out that some, like Vice President Mike Pence, are now openly campaigning on it. “We made an effort to fully repeal and replace Obamacare,” Pence said last month while campaigning for GOP Senate candidate Leah Vukmir in Wisconsin. “And we’ll continue, with Leah Vukmir in the Senate, we’ll continue to go back to that.”
Recent polling shows incumbent Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin with a double-digit lead over Vukmir.
Lest you think this is a slip-up, the Washington Post notes that President Donald Trump has raised the issue constantly while campaigning for Republicans in states he won, like Montana and West Virginia. “You know, we want to repeal and replace it, and if we get enough Republicans, we will, and we’ll have a much better health care,” Trump said in Montana earlier this month.
“It’s all about the base, because as far as I can tell, they’ve lost the independents, there’s no one left to woo,” conservative economist Doug Holtz-Eakin told Axios. (Love to woo people with the promise of making their lives worse.)
And it’s not just coming out of the administration, which exists in a constant state of Trump-induced psychosis. Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the House majority whip and white supremacist rally attendee, told Fox News last month that repeal would be a priority if Republicans held on to Congress. (Scalise, by the way, is totally not preparing for a run for GOP leader if Kevin McCarthy’s second bid goes down in flames.)
“We, by the way, out of the House passed a repeal and replace of Obamacare, something that would actually lower health premiums and create a private marketplace for health care that doesn’t exist today,” Scalise told Neil Cavuto. “That bill fell by one vote in the Senate. Let’s go get some more Republican senators in November, and I think we will. And then let’s come back at that.”
In the real world, meanwhile, polls show that half of Americans support transitioning to single-payer healthcare, and a Kaiser poll from earlier this month showed roughly 90 percent support for the Affordable Care Act’s most popular provisions—those which prevent insurance companies from charging sick people more or denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions—which Republicans are currently trying to sabotage through the courts. So, good luck!