It’s astounding how unpopular Trumpcare — but that doesn’t mean it will die


Republican voters hate it but Republican donors love it


A new poll from the The Analyst Institute finds that EVEN REPUBLICANS reject the Senate’s Trumpcare bill following the Congressional Budget Office score showing it uninsuring 22 million, including 4 million with employer insurance, while cutting Medicaid by 26 percent in the first decade. (A follow-up report showed that those Medicaid cuts grow to 35 percent in the second decade.)

A vast majority of voters agree with former Obamacare chief Andy Slavitt’s prognosis that the bill is “unfixable” and should move on:

This follows up polling that showed that there wasn’t one state in which the majority of voters supported the House Trumpcare bill.

Not one state of the 30 he won, most aren’t even close, as this map from The New York Times “The Upshot'” shows:


This is astounding given how long the right has spent attacking Obamacare and how sturdy Trump’s base is.

In a new post George Lakoff notes the reasons that Trump voters should prefer Trumpcare to Obamacare and their connected to his voters morality and identity, as nearly all politics are.

It’s about hierarchies that conservative brains innately privilege and reject the notion of the government actively caring for all citizens’ health:

And it’s about self-respect:

Most Trump supporters have Strict Father morality. It determines their sense of right and wrong. They see Trump as bringing America back to their values in a powerful way, making their values respectable and in line with the way the country is being run. Trump’s presidency has given them self-respect. Their self-respect is more important than the details of his policies, even if some of those policies hurt them.

We underestimate how effective both Trump and the right have been in hacking identity politics and using emotions — such as the latent sexism in an anti-Nancy Pelosi jihad — to win elections on extraordinarily unpopular policies.

Joy Reid recommendedWhy the Republican Brand Is So Strong Where I Live” by Teresa Tomlinson that sums up the four ways many Republican voters have internalized the right’s identity politics in way that make them extremely difficult to win over:

1. Perceived Affluence—If you were born into wealth, Republicanism is a family tradition and, frankly, an obligation. If you weren’t, voting Republican suggests an economic class status that is free to obtain.

2. Power Association—If you are a Republican, you need no one. The brand conveys that you are quite capable of going it alone and succeeding. The feeling of strength that comes with that is intoxicating, even if it is not remotely true.

3. Economic Justice—Republicans are convinced that Democrats want to take taxpayers’ hard-earned resources and give them to the undeserving out of misguided sympathy. The favor in this perceived redistribution effort is intolerable to Republicans.

4. Faith Fortification—The Republican Brand is seen as an imprimatur of the faithful. It is a stamp of Christian fidelity, regardless of any actual ascription to Christian principles.

So given all this, it’s extraordinary how unpopular Trumpcare is, even with Trumpcare voters.

Part of this has to do with Trump’s inability or unwillingness to sell the bill. Some argue that he can’t because he has no idea what’s inside the bill — as if he’d ever even seen a syllabus at Trump University, if there was one. This guy specializes in selling people crap they don’t want or need. He puts his name on anything to make a dime. This thing has his name on it and he seems unwilling to touch it.

This could be because he knows it’s doomed. Democrats paid a huge cost for INSURING 24 million. Guess what uninsuring them will do.

Or it could be that Mitch McConnell realizes that Trump, with his 38 percent approval, going out selling this crap will only freak out swing Republicans.

Either way, he hasn’t invested his brand in the proposal so there’s no identity bonus in the polling.

There are two other factors that can’t be ignored. Most of us, Lakoff argues, are “bi-conceptuals,” meaning we have some conservative and some liberal thinking active all the time. Health care may stimulate those liberal nodes even in some mostly conservative brain. Hence the growing acceptance of the idea of health care as right.

Also, the conservative brain privileges existing systems that benefit them:

Past above uncertainty.

GOP strategist Rick Wilson told me an attack line that Democrats can use that plays right into these fears:

“Obamacare wasn’t perfect but the GOP made it 1000x worse.”

Tomlinson argues Democrats can win over Republican-leaning voters by avoiding moralism and arguing that Trumpcare threatens affluence:

Increasing the number of uninsured, as the AHCA will do, will create exorbitant debt for hospitals and increase local property taxes in order to fund public hospitals. It will increase health care costs, thereby increasing private insurance premiums. It will eliminate jobs in the relatively high-paying medical profession, and it will hamper workforce quality and economic growth. Without pointing out the economic impact to all, too many voters fail to see the negative affect the AHCA has on their self-interest.

These tactics can work. But let’s not forget why we are back in a CODE RED:

The money.

Billions are at stake. The riches 400 Americans stand to make millions each year from the tax cuts — even if the investment surtax cut for the rich is removed.

And while Trump isn’t selling to his voters, he’s promising donors he will be next year. And he’s scaring the shit out of any Republican — see Dean Heller — who dares cross him.

Trump above everyone else

has been a winning formula for the right. We can’t expect it not to work here.

This is why we must raise all holy hell to have any hope of stopping this thing.