A Referendum on Health Reform?

15 Jun

Even before health reform was actually passed, the battle cry from the right was “Repeal!” and the talking heads and conservative radio hosts began to explain how angry the American people were going to be and how the November 2010 elections were going to be a referendum on health reform and a rude awakening for Democrats who had ignored the will of the people.

All of that really got me to wondering why the Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannitys of the world would be so quick to point out how the Democrats–who they detest with a passion–could remain in power: by not passing health reform. Basically, if you wanted the GOP to return to majority status, having the Dems fall flat on their face is precisely what you’d want, no? So why warn them against taking that vital misstep? Sure, you could argue that you’d be okay with the Dems staying in power if you were able to convince them to pass only widely bipartisan legislation, but well, that didn’t work out so well–health reform passed in highly partisan fashion.

That’s good news for Congressional Republicans, though, isn’t it? After all, Americans didn’t want health reform, a Democratically-controlled Congress “rammed it down their throats” anyway, and the natural response will be for voters to replace Democrats with Republicans come November so that they can focus on repealing or otherwise fixing this legislative “mistake.” Or will they?

Yes, midterm elections are notorious for going against the majority party. This has to do with lower voter turnout that results when we’re not choosing a president, and the disproportionate turnout of disgruntled persons–while the many who are content stay home. The last time this happened in grand fashion was when Newt Gingrich led the Republicans into control of the House during Clinton’s time in office. There’s certainly a chance that such a result could happen again. On the other hand, fortune favors the incumbent.

As this analysis by John Sides of The Monkeycage shows, even when people say that their member of Congress doesn’t deserve to be re-elected, they tend to re-elect them anyhow. So, just how many seats will the GOP pick up? Only 5 more months until we find out.

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Posted by on June 15, 2010 in Uncategorized


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