Speed Reads


GOP ex-congressman explains why House Republicans probably won't be punished for their health-care vote

On Thursday, House Republicans passed a deeply unpopular health-care bill that will affect all Americans and one-sixth of the U.S. economy, while Democrats taunted them with the Steam song "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" — as you probably already knew if you were watching cable news on Thursday:

Democrats are working off the assumption that since they lost big in the 2010 midterms after passing the Affordable Care Act — Nate Silver runs through how much ObamaCare hurt them — Republicans put their majority at risk on Thursday, with a special eye toward the yes votes from 46 House Republicans in districts that Hillary Clinton or President Obama won at least once since 2008, and more specifically the 14 in districts Clinton won in November. GOP strategist Tom Davis, a former Virginia congressman and ex-chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, disagrees with that political assessment.

Generally, Davis told The Atlantic that as unpopular as the American Health Care Act is nationally, including among swing voters, House Republicans faced a higher electoral risk from opposing it, since "the Democratic base is going to be spiked no matter what" and "a dispirited base going into the midterms" is more dangerous for Republicans than losing independents.

More specifically, the House Republicans in districts Clinton won are insulated because they tend to be "higher-income suburban districts" where President Trump is unpopular but so is ObamaCare, Davis argued. "You're not taking their stuff away, they are not the people who are getting punished" under the GOP plan, he said. And the House Republicans representing lower-income and rural Trump voters will be protected by cultural issues and Trump's nationalist bent. Unsurprisingly, Democratic strategists disagree with Davis. You can read their counterargument at The Atlantic.