It’s now been approximately two weeks since Republicans were handed a major defeat when they failed to pass their so-called “skinny repeal” of Obamacare. Thanks to a dramatic last second no-vote by John McCain, the bill that would have repealed large parts of the Affordable Care Act and left millions of Americans without coverage failed, and Republicans had to finally admit that they couldn’t accomplish their goals with healthcare.
In the time that has passed since the bill’s failure, different members of Republican leadership have reacted in different ways. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was devastated when he had to speak on the Senate floor and admit defeat, and is understandably worried about the reelection prospects faced by various Republicans in the Senate.
Paul Ryan (R-WI) has tried to take attention off healthcare, and is already pushing a radical tax plan that provides for millions in tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Trump, as one might expect, has been tantruming on Twitter and threatening the Senators that stood up to him and opposed the bill.
The American people have had an opportunity to react as well, and support for the Affordable Care Act is at an all time high. According to the New York Times Paul Krugman, Republicans that hold town halls or ask constituents for their opinions on the bill are met with “an outpouring of support for the law, bolstered by tales of lives and finances saved by the A.C.A.”
This represents a major change in attitude among Republican constituents since the bill was first passed, at which point many people were convinced that they would completely lose coverage or have their fates decided by “death panels”, a lie manufactured by Republicans.
Krugman points this out and asks why people believed the Republican lies in the first place. Now that constituents have caught the GOP lying about Obamacare and seen how beneficial the program is, it’s hard to understand how they could have believed the Republican lies in the first place. Krugman offers the following explanation:
“The answer, I believe, comes down to a combination of identity politics and affinity fraud. For generations, conservatives have conditioned many Americans to believe that safety-net programs are all about taking things away from white people and giving stuff to minorities. And those who stoked Obamacare rage were believed because they seemed to some Americans like their kind of people — that is, white people defending them against you-know-who.”
In essence, Republicans leveraged the racist and xenophobic fears of their voters, manipulating them into opposing Obamacare. Now, however, the jig is up, and voters are aware of the many benefits of the ACA. Republicans are doing all they can to keep articles like this from spreading in order to stop their constituents from learning the truth, so the best way to fight back is to share examples of Republican lies like this in order to expose their deceit.