Sunday, May 7, 2017

Is House health care vote a ticket for Democrats? (Say cheese, French!)

Posted By on Sun, May 7, 2017 at 10:12 AM

click to enlarge ON THE BUS: U.S. Rep. French Hill joined the happy crowd with Donald Trump celebrating passage of a calamitous (for sick people) health care bill. Looks like him to the left.
  • ON THE BUS: U.S. Rep. French Hill joined the happy crowd with Donald Trump celebrating passage of a calamitous (for sick people) health care bill. Looks like him to the left.

Much talk — AP here and also the New York Times here — on whether the health bill approved by Republicans last week is a ticket to gains in the House for Democrats.

Two things:

1) Yes. There's campaign fodder there. The bill is a  gift to the wealthy in tax cuts financed by  loss of health coverage for 24 million people, particularly older, poorer and sicker Americans.

2) If 2016 proved anything, it proved the danger of political assumptions. Transparently awful stuff  — calling a war hero a coward; grabbing pussy, serial lying, Russian alliances — doesn't necessarily disqualify a candidate.

The New York Times analysis says Democrats believe every district is in play particularly those where Trump didn't run so strong.

The analysis looks at districts where Trump received less than 55 percent of the vote as potential pickups when Republicans voted for the health bill. That includes the 2nd District of Arkansas, as the map below indicates. The 2nd District isn't a neat fit, however. Pulaski County, the most populous, still votes Democratic. But the surrounding counties are trending deep and reflexively red. Still, Republican Rep. French Hill, a starchy banker whose main concern in voting to repeal Obamacare seemed to be looking out for insurance companies (for whom his wife, coincidentally, lobbies), isn't exactly a populist Joe Six-Pack.

Lots of talk about potential Democratic candidates. One thinking it over, I'm reasonably sure, is state Rep. Clarke Tucker of Little Rock.

The Senate may yet bail the House Republicans out. Still, the spectacle of House Republicans loading what one writer called "party buses" to roll over to the White House to yuk it up about a vote that could bring devastation to millions of sick people was a photo op that might best have been avoided. But Rep. Hill did his duty. Say cheese, French!

  • New York Times

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