The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll reveals that the government shutdown has completely backfired on the Republicans. The ACA (Obamacare) has become more popular since House Republicans used it as an excuse to shut down the government.
According to the poll, 38% of Americans think that the healthcare law is a good idea, and 43% think it is a bad idea. Last month 31% thought the ACA was a good idea, and 44% thought it was a bad idea. This means that support for Obamacare has increased by 7 points since Republicans used it their reason for shutting down the government. Support for eliminating the funding to Obamacare has dropped from 50% last month to 44% today. Perhaps the worst number for Republicans are that a majority of Americans (52%) now think that the government should do more to help solve problems. In June, the country was deadlocked at 48%-48% over whether the government should do more to solve problems.
The entire congressional Republican strategy for 2014 is to run against the ACA (Obamacare). Ted Cruz has admitted that the government shutdown was designed with the intention of creating a public outcry against Obamacare. Cruz was trying to rally the Republican base for 2014 by picking a fight with Democrats over Obamacare. The Texas senator convinced a bloc of House tea party Republicans to go along with him, and government shutdown was born.
Something funny happened as the Republicans were on the path towards priming the pump for what they saw as a victory in 2014, or in Cruz’s case, a presidential run in 2016. People like Obamacare. In fact, they flooded they healthcare.gov servers trying to sign up. Instead of directing their anger at the government shutdown towards President Obama and his healthcare law, voters have directed their wrath at the Republican Party.
The government shutdown has not only made the ACA more popular, but it has made people question ideological foundation of the Republican Party. The shutdown has revealed to people something that they already knew, but didn’t want to admit. Americans not only like their government, but they also like their government to solve problems.
Republicans are fond of quoting Ronald Reagan who said during his first inaugural address that, “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” President Reagan was wrong. Government is just a system. Government itself has never been the problem. It is the elected politicians who misuse government for their own ends that have always been the problem.
Congressional Republicans have abused their power in an attempt to carry out an ideological agenda. The American people are not only punishing them for their abuse, but are embracing the very program (Obamacare) that the Republicans are trying to destroy.
The government shutdown has not only wrecked the Republican strategy for 2014, it has also caused many Americans to reject the anti-government ideology of today’s GOP.
The government shutdown started out as a self inflicted wound, but it has ended up being an act of political suicide for the Republican Party.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association