An analysis by Nate Silver showed that as many as 85 Republicans who voted for Trumpcare are now vulnerable to losing their seats to Democrats in 2018.
Silver used the drop off the Democrats experienced after Obamacare was passed as a potential baseline for what could happen to House Republicans who voted for Trumpcare:
If Republican members should suffer a similar penalty for voting for the AHCA — somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 points — it could put dozens of GOP-held seats in play. Some 33 Republicans won their seats by 14 percentage points or less in 20161; of those, 27 voted for the AHCA.
Republicans in the next tier or two down could also be vulnerable, however, because the overall political climate is likely to be a lot worse for Republicans than it was in 2016. In 2016, Republicans won the aggregate popular vote for the U.S. House by about 1 percentage point. Democrats currently have a 5- to 6-point lead in polls of the 2018 House vote, however. Moreover, the numbers for the president’s party usually get worse over the course of the midterm cycle as more voters tune into the political process. There could easily be an overall partisan swing of 5 to 10 percentage points against Republicans, therefore. It’s not quite clear how this partisan swing would interact with the AHCA penalty — whether you’d add them together or whether that’s double-counting — but it should be enough to make a lot of Republican incumbents nervous. There are 58 Republicans who won by less than 20 points in 20162 and who voted for the AHCA.
Democrats will need to win 24 seats in 2018 if the incumbent parties win in each House special election. As you can see from the numbers above, there are 27 vulnerable Republicans who voted for the ACA. There are also 23 Republican-held Congressional districts that voted for Hillary Clinton.
With Trump’s approval ratings already in the dumpster and with House Republicans getting less popular by the second, Democrats are moving from a favorable political climate to the sort of election that results in a blue wave. Democratic voters are already motivated, active, and paying attention. The House Republican vote on Trumpcare only serves to add fuel to an already raging fire.
As Silver himself pointed out, there are a ton of variables in play. Trumpcare may never become law. Trump may do 900 more things that push the health care vote to the back burner by 2018, but if the 2010 Obamacare experience taught political observers anything, it is that a vote doesn’t have to result in an implemented law for its results to have serious political consequences.
While the Trumpcare vote may seem like a dark day for America, it has opened up the path for Democrats to win back the House in 2018.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and 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