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Calling Republicans

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Marshall makes sense here on how to deal with Republican representatives on this vote to kill millions of Americans, whether they vote yes or no.

It matters just as much if your GOP rep is voting against this bill. To call and say “Hey thanks”? Not remotely.

If your Republican Rep is voting ‘no’, it’s still their vote and their seat which makes Paul Ryan the Speaker. That’s making this possible. If their seat was held by a Democrat (and obviously a number of seats more, not just that one) this wouldn’t be happening. So it’s not just about their vote. They make the majority possible. And that’s why this is happening. So really, they are just as responsible as the Republicans are voting “yes”. That’s true as a factual matter. As a matter of political strategy, if you want to protect the coverage of those 24 million people, you should let them know that you plan to hold them responsible for this. The heat on them will matter a lot because they have little real incentive to try to stop the train if they think they’re off the hook because they voted “no”. This is very important.

I guarantee you there are many conversations between ‘no’ voting Republican Reps and House leadership in which it’s a very straightforward arrangement. “I wish you guys the best but I need to vote ‘no’. It won’t fly in my district.” For a certain number, the leadership says, “We understand. We’ll give you a pass. We have the votes.” So the “no” voting Rep thinks he or she is covered. I’m in the clear. They shouldn’t be for the reasons I’ve stated above. In many cases, they are perfectly happy to see the 24 million go to the butcher block. Because it’s not on them. Or they don’t think it will be. It’s important for constituents to let them know that is not how they see it.

If your Rep is a diehard “yes” in a safe district, you should still call. Why? First, no one is ever that safe. But the more important point is that when people in safe seats hear more than they expected, they will rightly get the sense that other people in their caucus might go down to defeat. So they may no longer be in the majority. Especially today, parties operate as units. No representative is an island.

Another point to consider is that this seems likely to pass by maybe as little as one or two votes. What does that mean? That means that every Republican “yes” on their own could have made the difference. Let’s say this literally passes by one vote. That means your Republican Rep, alone, could have saved coverage for 24 million people. And so could that other Republican Rep who represents your cousin in other state. Funny how that works, isn’t it? But it’s true. That’s powerful. That’s the making of 30 seconds ads.

I could rattle off a list of other scenarios. But the point is that you should call basically no matter what. The utility and impact may not be as obvious. But often, the impact is almost as great as it would be if you were calling someone who was actually wavering. Sometimes greater. The over-arching point is don’t fall for the silliness of vote count literalism. Call. It matters.

The main takeaway from this horrid bill is this tweet from last night. And the central point that I have made over and over–the threat this nation faces is at most 20% Trump. The threat is at least 80% the Republican Party and what it stands for. And I don’t know really know if our freedoms can survive decades of this.

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  • PunditusMaximus

    Call your Republican Rep and say that you understand now that they want to murder your children.

    All but Paul Ryan and a few Freedom Caucus guys have a lot of cognitive dissonance on this issue, and pushing them hard might cause breakdowns that we can exploit.

  • PunditusMaximus

    Aaaaaaand it passed the House.

  • They would repeal the entire New Deal if they could. We take those rules for granted at our own peril. They have gutted worker’s compensation law and medical malpractice law all over the country. Your rights are the next ones they’ll end.

    • They’d repeal the entire Progressive Era as well.

      • CP

        And the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments, and the Civil Service Reform Act, and a whole passel of other things. The Jacksonian era is the most progressive they’ll get, and even plenty of their ideologues think it was a terrible error to remove the financial barriers that prevented the white trash from voting.

        • wengler

          If people want to sell themselves into slavery, why shouldn’t they have the freedom to do it? /s

  • twbb

    Really irritates me that the credulous, stupid, dishonest press is running with this as a “victory” for Trump.

    • sigaba

      There’s no question getting the thing out this week is a success by the standards Trump has set out for himself.

      What? You want the press to evaluate this event in the context of the public interest and the standards of competent popular government? Good luck!

      For the political press all that matters is wether or not Republicans meet their own objectives– talking critically about the merits of those objectives is considered biased, and talking critically about the means is considered unsavvy.

      • SatanicPanic

        All of this.

      • lizzie

        Not to speak for twbb but I think the point is that an actual functioning press would point out that this bill is like the opposite of what Trump promised during his campaign. I mean, sure, it’s a victory by the standards that Trump set for himself. But that’s not the standard he should be held to.

        • sigaba

          Lying to your own voters is just the means. Politics is hardball.

          Whenever some writer (like yer Glenn Thrush) says something like “politics ain’t beanbag” or some such locution, that really just means he doesn’t want to talk about the means because it would spoil the convenient fiction that the process flawlessly produces legitimate outcomes.

          That’s the real rub, the press only worries about legitimacy as much as the least legitimate actor does.

        • sigaba

          It is also true, to an extent, that a lot of people who voted for Trump will gladly vote for him again in the broad daylight of knowledge that he lies to them. Political reporters seem to be aware of this and it shades their coverage.

          His dishonesty is simply immaterial to a broad swath of his support; they would rather suffer under Trump than thrive under an alternative. The lies are a means to their end as well: destroying the de jure political establishment of the United States. A liar as president only HELPS that objective.

    • CP

      CNN’s first article about this was titled, literally, “Finally, A Victory For Trump.”

    • DamnYankees

      I mean, it is a victory for Trump, in the sense that he wanted this to pass, worked to get it passed, and it passed. I don’t know what the point is in denying that.

  • I’m not following the logic of this. Is Marshall saying that people should call their Republican congressthings and tell them it doesn’t matter if they vote no, they’re considered schtickdrecks regardless? What good is that supposed to do?

    • That we are coming after them unless they repudiate Ryan.

      • PunditusMaximus

        We keep pretending that they don’t want to murder us and our children, don’t we?

      • So we can have Amash instead? How is that a win?

        • Karen24

          Any and all chaos on their side is good.

        • Nick never Nick

          In the current political atmosphere, ‘head on pike’ = ‘win’. It makes it more likely that the next functionary to sit in the chair will listen to you.

        • DamnYankees

          Amash is at least an actual libertarian. Not sure how he’d be worse than Ryan.

        • MyNameIsZweig

          If doing so would work to get rid of Ryan, then that means it works. And we keep doing it until we get something we can at least live with temporarily. Or, you know, not.

  • Karen24

    Find out who vote numbers 215, 216, and 217 are and hound them till they scream.

  • PunditusMaximus

    Issa voted yes. That is the sound of a man who isn’t running for reelection.

    • erick

      Yep, seems the only question now is does he finish his term or leave for the lobbyist job right away.

      • PunditusMaximus

        That’s actually a really interesting question.

  • djw

    Also, some of the R no votes may well have been “yes if you absolutely need me” vote. (I strongly suspect Reichart here.)

    • Denverite

      Ditto Coffman. He also has the added motivation of his wife (current CO AG) likely running for Governor in 2018.

  • wengler

    My Congress jerk voted for this, after telling us explicitly in our town hall meeting that he wouldn’t. He was quaking in his boots at the amount of heat he was getting before, next time he better bring a change of pants(I amuse myself, he won’t ever show up for another one).

  • liberal

    If this were to pass the Senate, it’s really going to bite them in the ass.

    • JohnT

      Probably true, but only after biting several million other people in the throat

    • Nick never Nick

      I don’t trust any analysis that assumes the Republicans are irrational actors. If this passes the Senate, what ass biting is going to occur?

      1) Millions of people lose health care (GOP goal #1)
      2) More money is available for tax cuts (GOP goal #2)
      3) Trump fulfils campaign promise (Trump goal #1)
      4) Nation saved from Obamacare (wingnut goal #infinity)

      Are you assuming all the people who heard Trump promise to take away their health care and voted for him are going to figure out what is going on? Especially in the middle of the Fog of Election, with every media outlet howling about the Democratic nominee’s choice of electric razor?

      Plus — Democrats passed the ACA with 60 votes in the Senate. When will they have that again? Gone now, gone forever.

      • alexceres

        Democrats will only need 50 votes next time.

        • Little Chak

          Yeah, I mean, it’s plainly obvious that if they’re going to pass this monstrosity, they’re going to have to abolish the legislative filibuster to do it. So Dems would only need 50 votes to replace it.

          • djw

            Aren’t they still able to claim reconciliation? That seems to be how it’s being reported.

      • rea

        Are you assuming all the people who heard Trump promise to take away their health care and voted for him are going to figure out what is going on?

        Trump rather explicitly promised NOT to do this

        • Little Chak

          “Everyone will have healthcare, it’ll be wonderful, there are no cats in America, and the streets are filled with cheese!”

        • Nick never Nick

          If Trump manages to stiff-arm dementia for another three years, this is the easiest thing for him to lie his way out of.

          “I promised to repeal the ACA and replace it with something better. The Democrats refused to cooperate or participate in drafting the bill and they voted against it as a bloc, any flaws in it are owing to their unprecedented obstructionism the likes of which has never been seen in America.”

          • Little Chak

            Well, then, I suppose the thing to do would be to lean on the media and politicians, and force them, to the best of your ability, to report the truth — that Republicans rejected Democratic input at every stage of drafting the bill, because they are ideologically committed to rejecting any form of compromise that could make the bill palatable to any Democrats.

            Point out that putting sick people and people with pre-existing conditions in high-risk pools is *not* “everyone will have healthcare” — it is “the rich and the healthy will have healthcare”.

            Just keep fighting. Or, you know, you could decide that the truth is unimportant and give up.

        • Redwood Rhiadra

          The only part of Trump’s promise that mattered was that he promised to “repeal Obamacare”. They don’t give a FUCK what it’s replaced with. Obamacare is blackity-black socialized medicine and they would much rather eat toxic waste than allow the ACA to continue.

          Seriously – I’ve talked to some of these Trump supporters, and they literally pay the tax penalty because getting an “Obama plan” – one that with their low income would be almost fully subsidized – is just flat-out unacceptable. And then they have the gall to complain about how much their doctor’s visits and prescriptions cost, because they don’t have insurance.

          They were cheering today. Sure, they still won’t be able to get insurance that covers squat. And they know it. But it’s NOT OBAMACARE, and that’s *all* they care about.

    • PunditusMaximus

      so tired of horserace BS

      • MyNameIsZweig

        Yepppppppp.

    • Rob in CT

      I would like to believe this. I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • nobody

    If this somehow passes the Senate and gets signed into law, don’t expect any blowback. While it will make sick and poor people’s lives more miserable (or even end them), it will make healthy people better off with lower premiums because all the sick people are quarantined into high risk/death pools. (That is until the healthy become sick themselves.)

    Thus the AHCA could be popular in the short run.

    • lunaticllama

      This is not necessarily the case if this morning’s reporting of how this bill would affect employer-provided plans is accurate. If employers across the nation end up basing their plans in whatever state first obtains a waiver from the essential benefits regulations, tens of millions of employed people will lose health benefits or have their premiums/costs for those benefits increase dramatically. This would affect healthy people/families as well as “sick” people with pre-existing conditions (considering that being a rape survivor constitutes a pre-existing condition, I’m not sure that just sick people are going to end up suffering if this becomes law.)

    • djw

      The previous version, which was notably less awful, was polling at 17%, a figure I would have thought impossible in a high-partisanship moment. This will start from a very unpopular place, tied to an unpopular president and an even more congressional delegation, and will eventually have the embarrassment of actually being scored by the CBO. And nearly half of Americans have a pre-existing condition of some sort. It’s theoretically possible it could end up being popular, but that’s certainly not the way I’d bet.

  • Karen24

    We expected this, and we expected it to happen sooner. Now is the time to be louder, meaner, and especially, smarter. We have to make life utter and absolute hell for every R in a D-leaning district, keep up the angry town halls, and keep up the marches. We give Trump NOTHING. We make him miserable. Let him feel the hate as long and as loud as we can. He is, actually, their vulnerable point and the more we make up hurt the better our chances against the real enemy — Ryan and McConnell.

  • wengler

    The particular dysfunction of the Republican Party is that no bill can be too far right. The so-called Republican ‘moderates’ are more terrified about being primaried from the right than they are about losing the general election. Thus when an obvious turd of a bill comes forth they vote for it because it’s essentially a loyalty test.

    There are two Republican senators that this doesn’t seem to apply to, one who has already lost a Republican primary and still won the general and the other who is a near extinct creature called a New England Republican, but that only gets up to 50. The hope to derail this bill is time, since it looks like the Senate isn’t in a hurry to get to it, and turds in the sun don’t do well.

  • No Longer Middle Aged Man

    Just looked at Politico and NYTimes. In Politico, immediately under the big head on the vote are three other articles, two of which are “5instances of GOP hypocrisy on repeal” and “What’s actually in the GOP health care bill.” Both pretty decent articles. The Times? 4 or 5 articles on the politics of it, one small reference under “related coverage” to “Major Provisions of the Republican Health Care Bill.”

    The self-billed newspaper of record is taking itself closer every day to a print/online version of a Sunday morning food fight politics TV gab fest, where they ignore substance of national politics and cover the show. Beaten for substance by Politico, an outlet whose name states its focus. It’s like Maureen Dowd is now in charge of news coverage at NYT as well as insipid commentary.

    • Karen24

      I thought the Politico pieces were really good and shared them on social media.

      • No Longer Middle Aged Man

        You’d think the f*ing NYT would think there’s some news value, if not in the substance of the repeal bill, then in the process through which Republicans passed a bill without
        1. any CBO score
        2. committee hearings
        3. House members having time to actually read the bill
        4. floor debate

        And I don’t mean “news value” in terms of political consequences, which is all the NYT seems capable of thinking about. I mean “news value” as in a significant development in legislative behavior occurring under their noses.

  • Rob in CT

    1. GOP delenda est.

    2. Fuck anyone who analyzes this as if it were a baseball game.

    3. I’m going drinking, because fuck everything.

  • Jordan

    so I’m in a district that was pretty + clinton, but retained our republican congressperson. I’ve called and mailed, and he’s one who actually held real town halls, where me and my partner protested (from what I’ve read he was a no on this recent health care abomination).

    But goddammit, clinton was a pretty *strong* win here, why the hell do we have this guy?

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