Many commentators, including yours truly, seriously underestimated Donald Trump’s electoral prospects despite prescient assurances that he would win from American Spectator stalwarts like Jeffrey Lord and R. Emmett Tyrrell. Unlike most Trump skeptics, however, I’m delighted to have been proven wrong. His flaws notwithstanding, “the Donald” has spared the nation four years of Clintonian corruption and scandal while garnering a genuine mandate for the repeal of that crime against democracy — Obamacare. Indeed, according to the first major post-election voter survey, “Seventy-four percent of Republicans say they want to repeal the Affordable Care Act when Donald Trump takes the White House.”
And the desire to deep-six Obamacare is by no means limited to Republicans. Recent public opinion polls indicate that a majority of Americans want to be rid of it. In late October Gallup reported, “When asked about repealing ‘Obamacare,’ 51% said they favor repealing it.” A week before the election Rasmussen reported, “Voters overwhelmingly favor changes in Obamacare, with more voters than ever calling for its outright repeal.” What about the few who like the law and those who want government-run single-payer health care? Well, that’s why we have elections. They lost. After January 20, 2017, the President and Congress will begin working together to repeal the ironically titled “Affordable Care Act.”
Predictably, the legacy “news” media have already embarked upon a propaganda campaign designed to convince the public that the law is essentially impervious to repeal. The Washington Post portentously warns, “Donald Trump is about to face a rude awakening over Obamacare.” One Los Angeles Times headline declares, “Despite Republican pledges, ‘repealing Obamacare’ will be almost impossible.” My favorite is this howler from Politico, “Obamacare defenders vow ‘total war’.” The editors of these and many other establishment publications are like those Japanese soldiers who periodically emerge from Pacific island caves, refusing to believe that World War II is over and that their side lost.
You know the media is shell-shocked when the most sensible piece about the party charged with defending Obamacare was produced by Matthew Yglesias at Vox under the headline, “The whole Democratic Party is now a smoking pile of rubble.” Most of Obamacare’s dead-enders in the media and elsewhere assume that it can’t be repealed because the GOP doesn’t have a filibuster-proof majority of 60 votes in the Senate. But, in 2018, at least 6 of the 48 Democrat Senators who will retain their seats after January must face reelection in red states where the voters will not reward them for obstructing repeal. These vulnerable Democrats may well be willing to cooperate with the Republicans in breaking a filibuster.
Even if these red state Democrats remain intransigent, the worst elements of Obamacare can be repealed by sidestepping a filibuster. The GOP leadership can utilize the same budget maneuver, reconciliation, which permitted them to slap H.R.3762 on the President’s desk last January. That bill wouldn’t have repealed every line of the law, but it would have eliminated the individual and employer mandates, many of its taxes, and phased out its subsidies. Obama vetoed the bill, of course. However, as Paul Ryan said at the time, “We have shown now that there is a clear path to repealing Obamacare without 60 votes in the Senate. So, next year, if we’re sending this bill to a Republican president, it will get signed into law.”
Well, next January, we will have a Republican President and he has signaled that he will sign a bill like H.R.3762 that leaves some parts of Obamacare in place. Perversely, the very media outlets that denounced Trump for pledging to repeal Obamacare now accuse him of “waffling.” Misrepresenting an interview with the Wall Street Journal, outlets like NBC have produced headlines like, “Repeal Obamacare? Maybe Not, Says Trump.” Hilariously, this fictitious change of heart is being attributed to last week’s meeting with the President: “After meeting with President Obama, Trump hinted that he is willing to keep the pre-existing conditions portion.” As it happens, Trump has always supported that provision of the law.
Conspicuously absent from all of this nonsense is any discussion of which provisions of the President’s “signature domestic achievement” are supported by the 60.3 million voters who cast their ballots for Trump, the majority of people living in all those red states that cover most of the electoral map. The answer to that question, oddly enough, appears to be of little interest to the media, the anti-Trump rioters or the thumb-suckers of the Snowflake Rebellion. Nonetheless, last Tuesday’s exit polls have a story to tell about Obamacare for anyone willing to listen: “Voters feeling that the law went too far are breaking decisively for Trump, 80 percent to 13 percent.” In flyover country, we call this a mandate.