Political Strategy Notes
Dan Rivoli points out at International Business Times that the Supreme Court will decide the fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) beginning March 26, "arguably its most anticipated case in years." Rivoli adds that the High Court will deliberate about the ACA for 3 days, and "will address aspects of the law beyond the key question of whether the Constitution allows the government to force Americans to buy health insurance. The justices will also consider whether the law can stand without the mandate, expansion of Medicaid eligibility and whether it's even proper for the court to hear the challenges to the insurance-purchase requirement before it takes effect in 2014." Rivoli cites the new Kaiser Family Foundation poll indicating wide public misunderstanding about the ACA.
Democrats have a lot of work to do to educate the public about the need for the individual mandate in the ACA. According to Scott Clement's WaPo report about a new Washington Post/ABC news poll, 42 percent "want the high court to throw out the entire law" and "25 percent want to do away with the mandate alone and a similar proportion wants the justices to uphold the entire law." Clement adds that the above-noted Kaiser poll indicates that 51 percent believe that the mandate is unconstitutional, while only 28 percent believe it is constitutional.
Dems have begun addressing the merits of the health care reform law in their messaging, as Deirdre Wash reports at CNN.com: "Democrats will also argue that all the dire predictions GOP opponents warned about in 2009 haven't materialized. Republicans said senior citizens would lose their health care coverage and private plans would be forced to impose massive hikes in premiums..."None of those things have happened, and in fact good things have happened -- so that is a help to us," claimed one senior Democratic aide coordinating the week's activities. "People are seeing the good things and the crazy things Republicans said were going to happen didn't happen." ...Congressional Democrats this week, with a major push from the White House, are planning a series of events to highlight the two major provisions of the law implemented in the last two years -- rules extending health care coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and allowing young adults to remain on their parents' plans until they turn 26."
Kyle Kondik explains why those who are looking for an anti-incumbent tidal wave will likely be disappointed.
All talk of anyone other than Romney getting the GOP nod is starting to sound a little silly. As Brad Knickerbocker reports at the Monitor on Romney's chances of victory in Illinois tomorrow, "Nate Silver of the New York Times' FiveThirtyEight political blog gives him an 86 percent chance of winning. (The Intrade prediction market puts Romney's chances of winning Illinois at 92 percent.)"
Need more persuasion that it's Romney's to lose? As Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley report at the Crystal Ball, "Mitt Romney, appears poised to further pad his lead in delegates in upcoming Republican nomination contests, starting with Illinois next Tuesday and through a northeastern primary day on April 24...From now until the end of April, we expect Romney to win not only the majority of nominating contests, but also the majority of delegates awarded in these contests...Barring a massive, difficult to fathom shift in this contest, Mitt Romney has a better than 80% chance to be the GOP nominee. No amount of wild tapping on CNN's magic wall will alter those odds."
Political Wire's Taegan Goddard cites good reasons why Dems should guard against overconfidence about President Obama's re-election prospects.
Chris Cillizza writes about the VA Senate race in 'the Fix': "This may be the truest of the many toss-ups ...In fact, when a recent poll showed former senator George Allen (R) leading by 8 percent, another poll soon showed former Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine (D) leading by 9 points. The truth is probably right in between those two polls." Dems who want to make sure Kaine has the resources to compete can help out at his Act Blue page.
The AFL-CIO has a great new user-friendly web page, with lots of tools for progressives to get up to speed on critical legislation, political issues and campaigns.