Trump Just Gave The Biden Campaign A Huge Gift
Trump's renewed call to terminate Obamacare handed Democrats a golden opportunity to campaign on a winning issue. The Biden team wasted no time immediately springing into action.
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If there’s one thing you can count on Donald Trump to do, it’s self-sabotage. That’s precisely what he did this week, handing the Biden campaign an issue that has been an unmistakable political winner for Democrats in recent elections.
In reaction to a Wall Street Journal editorial about healthcare costs, Trump took to Truth Social on Sunday to renew his promise to repeal President Obama’s landmark healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
Repealing Obamacare would throw the American healthcare system into chaos, stripping over 20 million people of their coverage. It would especially impact low-income individuals, young people under 26 on their parents’ insurance, seniors, and over 100 million people with pre-existing conditions.
Aides close to Trump were surprised by his comments, according to The New York Times. Trump’s team hasn’t crafted a concrete replacement for Obamacare, nor has he ever been able to create a long-promised replacement plan. Republican operatives were equally alarmed, with one operative telling CNN that this issue “was a loser in 2018, and it’s a loser now.”
“My predecessor once again called for cuts that could rip away health insurance for tens of millions of Americans. They just don’t give up. But guess what? We won’t let these things happen.”
The Biden campaign changed its messaging plan for the week and spent much of it amplifying Trump’s calls to terminate Obamacare. They’re also tapping some notable surrogates to spread the message.
On Tuesday, President Biden held a conference call with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper - a Democrat who signed a Medicaid expansion into law earlier this year under an Obamacare provision.
Pelosi laid out the stakes clearly:
“In 2024, the Affordable Care Act and all of its transformational benefits will be on the ballot. The American people will need to know that if Donald Trump wins next year, he’s coming for your healthcare. But if Joe Biden wins, your health care will be safe and sound.”
The Biden campaign is planning an ad blitz to spotlight Trump’s threats. They also kicked their messaging into high gear online, with the @BidenHQ campaign social media account sending multiple posts highlighting the damaging impacts a repeal of Obamacare would have.
Across the multiple posts so far this week, they’ve garnered millions of views.
As Democrats outlined how Trump wants to terminate Obamacare, Trump sent a post on Wednesday shortly after midnight he thought was clarifying but only doubled down and confirmed his intentions:
On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal published another editorial, this time telling Trump that he gave “his contenders another gift over the weekend by vowing to ‘terminate’ ObamaCare —or at least that’s how Democrats are translating his blunderbuss comments.”
After this, Trump lashed out once again in a long Truth Social post, calling the WSJ Editorial page a “MESS” and saying, “The Globalist ‘paper’ sucks.”
The Wall Street Journal is right, of course - that’s a sentence I rarely write.
Obamacare has helped tens of millions of uninsured Americans get healthcare. The most recent polling from KFF showcases that Obamacare remains very popular. 59% of Americans have a favorable opinion of Obamacare. The increase in popularity came amid an onslaught of ill-advised attacks on the healthcare law by the Republican Party.
After the Trump Administration and the GOP’s attempted repeal of Obamacare in 2017, which Senator John McCain (R-AZ) shot down with his singular vote, Democrats won a historic midterm election in 2018 by margins not seen since their post-Watergate performance. Speaker Nancy Pelosi led the Democrats to that historic majority by running relentless campaigns on protecting healthcare. That year, we began to see Republicans increasingly losing the suburban women that would later help propel Biden to win the 2020 election.
Now, with Trump renewing his belligerent call to repeal Obamacare, Democrats see an opening to repeat history. But this time, we’re in the post-Roe v. Wade world, and protecting abortion rights has also become a big motivator for Democratic voters, as we saw in Democratic overperformances in the 2022 midterms and the 2023 off-year elections.
As we look toward 2024, Democrats can now compound the threats to Obamacare and abortion rights into an overall message of protecting healthcare, which includes women’s reproductive rights. It’s a message that will certainly appeal to voters, and Republicans know it.
GOP consultant and former communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), Ken Spain, told CNN: “There are very few issues where Republicans are at a greater disadvantage than healthcare. The Biden campaign desperately wants the election to be about healthcare and abortion. If the election is about those two issues in 2024, then Democrats will have a great night in November.”
These issues, multiplied by the overly fascist promises Trump is making, give Democrats an opportunity to reframe the race and highlight the contrasts between President Biden and Donald Trump.
Protecting abortion rights, Obamacare, and democracy against the extremist, authoritarian threat of a second Trump term sounds like a winning campaign message to me.