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GOP 52
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270 Electoral votes needed to win This date in 2012 2008
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TODAY'S HEADLINES (click to jump there; use your browser's "Back" button to return here)
      •  ACA Repeal Is Dead Again
      •  Yates to Contradict Trump Administration on Flynn
      •  New Study Examines Why Clinton Lost
      •  Clinton Blames Her Loss on Comey and Putin
      •  Trump Responds to Clinton
      •  Poll Has Georgia Race as a Tossup
      •  Why Jim DeMint Was Kicked Out of the Heritage Foundation
      •  Trump Teaches History

ACA Repeal Is Dead Again

The House Republican leadership had planned a vote on repealing the ACA this week, but with almost 20 House Republicans now publicly against the new bill, it looks like the repeal is dead again. Yesterday, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), who has authored numerous bills to repeal the ACA over the years, said that the current one is a bridge too far and he cannot support it. Upton's problem is the MacArthur Amendment, which allows states to opt out of community rating and the essential health benefits in the ACA. The former means that insurance companies can charge sick people whatever they want to and the latter means that the insurance doesn't have to cover anything that the insurance company thinks might cost them a lot of money, like maternity care or mental health care. The GOP leadership can't just pull the MacArthur Amendment because that is the magic formula that got the House Freedom Caucus to sign up for the bill.

The fundamental problem is that the Freedom Caucus and the moderate Tuesday Group have different political plans. The Freedom Caucus effectively wants two separate insurance pools. The main pool would offer minimal insurance to healthy people at low prices. The idea is that the patients—oops, voters—in that pool would be grateful for low premiums and reward the Republicans at the polls. The second insurance pool would be the high-risk pool, where all the sick people would go. The federal and state governments would provide minimal funding for it, and when the money was used up for the year, nobody would get health care until the next January. Estimates are that 80% of the voters would be in the main pool and 20% in the high-risk pool, making this scheme politically beneficial for the Republicans. At least, that is what they hope.

The moderates in the Tuesday Group are afraid this could backfire. Maybe John Q. Voter is healthy and would benefit from the low premium in the main pool, but if John's sick mother is left to die in the underfunded high-risk pool, he might not be a certain Republican vote. This is why the discussion about pre-existing conditions is central to the whole debate. Unless sick people can be removed from the main insurance system, premiums can't go down and Republicans can't take credit for lowering premiums.

With about 20 Republicans already against the revised bill, almost every one of the dozens of undecided Republicans would have to support it in order for it to pass. That's not impossible, but it is a tall order, and there is no easy fix. In all likelihood, if a vote isn't taken this week, the repeal effort is dead in the water, and tax reform suddenly becomes a lot harder for technical reasons having to do with the Senate's budget reconciliation process. (V)

Yates to Contradict Trump Administration on Flynn

When it comes to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, the Trump Administration's official line has been that they did not know about his conversations with Russian officials, and his habit of discussing the sanctions against Russia. As soon as the administration discovered the truth, they say, Flynn was cashiered. On Tuesday, we learned that the administration's version of events is apparently not truthful. On May 8, former acting Attorney General Sally Yates is going to go before a Senate panel to testify that she warned the administration about Flynn fully three weeks before he was fired. She was concerned that his dishonesty would leave him vulnerable to being compromised by the Russians.

Yates will be somewhat constrained in what she can say, since much of what she knows is classified. However, she's already said enough to make clear that the administration wanted to keep Mike Flynn on board, regardless of his liabilities, and that they only dumped him when the heat got too intense (and when he embarrassed the Vice President). It's also a bit more smoke added to the Russia matter; the odds are good that someone's getting close to discovering a little fire. (Z)

New Study Examines Why Clinton Lost

A new study from the Global Strategy Group pins about 30% of Hillary Clinton's loss on Democrats who stayed home on Election Day and 70% on people who voted for Obama and switched to Trump in 2016. The study has major implications for how the Democrats should attempt to regain power in 2018 and 2020. The conclusion is that just appealing to the base of young people, single women, and minorities won't do the job. The Democrats need to win back some culturally-conservative blue-collar workers. In practice, this means that some Democratic issues are likely to be helpful (e.g., a $15 minimum wage) and some not so much (e.g., gun control).

The first issue the Democrats have to contend with is whether they want to become a populist party along the lines Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) wants or move more to the middle. In 2018, they can try out different themes in different states and congressional districts, but in 2020, there will be only one presidential nominee, so the Democrats will have to make a choice. But an analysis of the 2018 elections may give them a better idea of which themes work and where. In particular, the focus has to be what people in states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania want, not what people in California or New York want. It could be a painful process. (V)

Clinton Blames Her Loss on Comey and Putin

The study cited above gives one take on why Hillary Clinton lost the election. However, Clinton herself has a different view. She blames FBI Director James Comey for bringing up the subject of her email server on Oct. 28, as well as the Russian hacking of John Podesta's emails, presumably at the direction of Russian President Vladimir Putin. She also said she was the victim of misogyny and unfair treatment by the media. In her view, if the election had been held two weeks earlier, she would have won.

She might have a case there. As of 2 weeks before the election, the polls showed her with leads of 8%, 6%, and 5% in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, respectively. Ultimately, she lost all three states by less than 1%. There was relatively little public polling in the final week, so it is possible that Comey's remarks and the WikiLeaks dump moved enough voters to turn those states from blue to red. Of course, that doesn't answer the question of why she didn't have a 20-point lead for months on end. She might have been the wrong candidate and might have run a poor campaign as well. (V)

Trump Responds to Clinton

There was zero chance that Donald Trump would allow Hillary Clinton's remarks to pass without notice. Indeed, it seems likely that part of Clinton's plan was to goad him into a response. And in that, she was successful. The President didn't even wait until 3:00 a.m.; he was on Twitter late Tuesday to weigh in:

Readers will decide for themselves what they think of Trump's assessment, but it is worth noting that he's now referring to himself in the third person. Presumably it's only a matter of time until he's advising the American people that, "We are not amused." (Z)

Poll Has Georgia Race as a Tossup

On June 20, Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel will face off for the right to represent GA-06 in the House of Representatives. Anzalone Liszt Grove Research has conducted the first major poll of the race, and they have it as a tossup, with Ossoff at 48% of the vote, Handel at 47%, and a four-point margin of error.

The good news for the Republicans is that party members are clearly coalescing behind Handel after a fractious primary. Further, Anzalone Liszt Grove is a Democratic House, so there might be a moderate house effect in Ossoff's favor. The good news for the Democrats is that Ossoff's support is holding; he just needs to grab a few independents or crossover votes. Also, there is a good chance that Anzalone Liszt Grove's model of the electorate is a bit conservative on Democratic turnout, since they are likely to split the difference between "normal" Democratic turnout and the "unusually high" Democratic turnout we saw in April. (Z)

Why Jim DeMint Was Kicked Out of the Heritage Foundation

The Heritage Foundation was created in 1973 by Ed Feulner as an academic think tank whose mission was to churn out conservative policy papers. However, when Jim DeMint suddenly resigned his Senate seat to run the Foundation in 2013, it abruptly changed course and became more partisan. It is now closely aligned with Donald Trump. The Foundation's board decided it didn't like this new arrangement and booted DeMint out yesterday. Feulner will take over temporarily until a new head can be found.

The Foundation has issued thousands of reports over the years, but one of them stands out above all others. In the 1990s, when First Lady Hillary Clinton was busy concocting Hillarycare, the Foundation responded by issuing a conservative alternative: make everyone buy insurance from a private insurance company. That plan became Romneycare in Massachusetts and later Obamacare nationally. The new director's mission will be to go back to the old model of thinking up conservative solutions to national problems and publishing reports describing them, rather than getting involved in partisan politics. (V)

Trump Teaches History

On Monday, Donald Trump offered a less-than-erudite take on 19th century history. On Tuesday, the most popular tag on Twitter was #TrumpTeachesHistory, in which users presented additional history "lessons," Trump-style. Among the better entries:

As they say, "He who lives by the Twitter, dies by the Twitter." (Z)

Email a link to a friend or share:

---The Votemaster and Zenger
May02 It Is Now or Never for Repealing the Affordable Care Act
May02 Trump Willing to Meet with Kim, Going to Meet with Duterte
May02 Trump Runs Ad Touting His Successful First 100 Days
May02 Trump Administration Dismantles Michelle Obama Initiatives
May02 Cabinet Secretaries Are Pushing their Minders Out of the Way
May02 Trump University Student Rejects Settlement Deal
May02 Professor Trump Gives a History Lesson
May01 Government Funded Through September
May01 Gorka Off National Security Council
May01 Biden Speaks in New Hampshire
May01 Democrats Can't, Won't Work with Trump
May01 How Good a Negotiator Is Donald Trump?
May01 Priebus Says the Administration Has Considered Changing Libel Laws
May01 Ros-Lehtinen to Retire
Apr30 Trump Commemorates 100th Day with Rally, "Deeply Disturbing" Speech
Apr30 This Week's March: Environmentalists
Apr30 Should Trump Worry About His Polls?
Apr30 The Trump Economy, 100 Days In
Apr30 2.13 Falsehoods Per Day
Apr30 The Next 100 Days Begins Today
Apr30 Democrats Feeling Bullish
Apr29 President Trump Very Impressed with President Trump
Apr29 North Korea Not Backing Down
Apr29 Trump's America Is Less Safe
Apr29 What Is MS-13?
Apr29 Secret Service Spread Thin
Apr29 Democrats Considering Suit Against Trump
Apr29 Lewandowski Appears to Be Selling Access to Trump
Apr28 Flynn's in Big Trouble--Thanks, Obama!
Apr28 Obamacare Replacement v2.0 May Be Dead on Arrival
Apr28 Military Buildup Unlikely
Apr28 Trump Claims He's a Nationalist and a Globalist
Apr28 So Much for Russian Hacking Report
Apr28 Democrats Not Backing Down on Wall
Apr27 Trump Tax Plan Underwhelms
Apr27 GOP Unveils Obamacare Replacement v2.0
Apr27 Trump to Pull out of NAFTA...or Not
Apr27 Net Neutrality Getting Closer to Being a Memory
Apr27 Trump 100-Day Mark Approval Rating Will Be Lowest Recorded
Apr27 Trump Unveils Anti-Immigrant Phone Line, Gets Trolled
Apr26 Michael Flynn Is in Hot Water
Apr26 Judge: No Defunding "Sanctuary Cities"
Apr26 Trump Eager to Appoint a Second SCOTUS Justice
Apr26 Trade Wars: Win Some, Lose Some
Apr26 Bannon Loses Again
Apr26 Sessions: Hawaii Slam Was Just a Joke
Apr26 Clinton Trolls Trump
Apr25 Michael Flynn in Hot Water
Apr25 Judge: No Defunding "Sanctuary Cities"
Apr25 Trump Eager to Appoint a Second SCOTUS Justice