Political Parties Should Try to be Popular

American voters are often misinformed and hold false beliefs about many details of public policy, the size of different portions of the federal government, and who calls the shots in different settings. Nevertheless, political parties should try to be accountable to the people who elected them.

As far as I can tell, the big threat to Trump’s presidency isn’t the Russia investigation or even erratic and irascible Trump himself, it’s Paul Ryan’s legislative agenda.  I haven’t seen a single coherent public defense of the AHCA. I think Obamacare was a stupid use of political capital by the Democrats, and “maximizing the percent of the population on comprehensive health insurance” is a stupid political goal (and possibly one with tragic side-effects, as I think I’ve shown.) But the Democrats at least ran on a plan with a passing similarity to what they passed (they more-or-less passed Hillary 2008’s health care plan, since Obama 2008 didn’t have a mandate.) Yes, Republicans over the last several years have won electoral success in part on the backs of “repeal and replace,” but they never made clear what the “replace” was, nor made any kind of public argument for what they put together now.

The Senate should drop the AHCA, pass a small tax cut and a couple minor Obamacare amendments (dropping the employer mandate, for instance), and put a much bigger piece of cash into digging up streets and replacing piping, rebuilding bridges, and building Trump’s wall, which is a clear and fairly popular promise their winning candidate made to his constituents.

One thought on “Political Parties Should Try to be Popular

  1. While there may not be a Republican or Democrat way to build a road, I think you’re looking at the electorate wrong. Traditionally, we think that of it like a normal distribution, with the partisan wings. This would have the majority of the people in the middle as rather un-ideological. While surveys bears this out when it comes to policy, the way the public votes and the voting public, though, does not look like a normal distribution. It is more like a two partisan lumps on the wings, with a non-ideolgical valley in the middle. As Hillary found out to her detriment, you win with turnout on your side more than getting the folks in the middle out to vote. I think that Republican voters will feel deeply betrayed, and stay home, if something or another doesn’t happen to Obamacare. It should go away, even if the replacement is largely symbolic, leaving the framework in place and just changing the nameplates. For 7 years the GOP has rode the Repeal Obamacare train to election success, it would be a strategic mistake to leave it intact as it would be a betrayal to their base voters. The’re never going to get votes from the Left anyway? Only 20-30 House districts are competitive anyway, and if premiums come down it will be enough to bring a few middle of the road folks along. Human nature means that people who are in the middle will look to their own self interest directly in front of them more than the litany of exaggerated horror stories we’ll be subjected two about people dying left and right if it is repealed.


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