At NYT, Sheryl Gay Stolberg reports on the political consequences of the GOP effort to scrap Obamacare.
“Politically, it’s pretty dumb to be talking about how we need to repeal Obamacare in the middle of a pandemic,” said Joel White, a Republican strategist who specializes in health policy and has presented legislative proposals to House and Senate Republicans and the White House. “We need quick solutions here; we need stuff that we can do tomorrow, because our countrymen are hurting.”
Health care is consistently near the top of the list of issues voters care about. While Republicans and President Trump tend to have an edge on the economy, Democrats won the House in 2018 in large part by emphasizing health care — a playbook they intend to revive in 2020. The pandemic has also put Republicans at risk of losing the Senate, said Jessica Taylor, who analyzes Senate races for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.
“There are a lot of factors that have put the Senate into play, but the pandemic and how it has affected health care and the economy is a major one that have made these races competitive,” Ms. Taylor said.
Democrats need to win three Senate seats to take the majority if they also win the White House, four if they do not. Although Cook Political deems one Democratic incumbent, Senator Doug Jones of Alabama, an underdog in his race, it also rates Senate races in five states — North Carolina, Maine, Colorado, Arizona and Montana — as tossups. All have Republican incumbents.
In Montana, Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, jumped into the race to defeat the Republican incumbent, Senator Steve Daines, in March, just as the pandemic was exploding. Three days later, a liberal group, Protect Our Care, announced a $250,000 ad campaign attacking Mr. Daines as “dead set on taking on away Montanans’ health care” after voting five times to repeal the health law. Cook Political moved the race to its tossup column last week.