Now that the Supreme Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act, Republicans are in a bind: how can one successfully navigate the serpentine political path without taking the losing position.
Just hours after the high court handed down the decision, House Speaker John Boehner said that “most of the discussion so far was if the Court ruled against the administration in King v. Burwell what the response would be.” While many national politicians from conservative states and districts are likely to continue to explicitly oppose the law and the ruling, others may quietly drop their principled stances. So far, there is no Republican consensus on how to move forward.
The road is most difficult for those running for the Republican presidential nomination. On one hand, each candidate must either impress upon conservative primary voters why they will fight tooth-and-nail to repeal the law or tactfully express what his or her alternative is. (There is also still a minute chance that the law could be challenged again in 2017.) On the other hand, a candidate who wishes to ascend to the nation’s top office cannot risk alienating the general electorate by opposing subsidies for more than six million Americans and improved healthcare benefits for most consumers.
What, if any, new campaign strategy will Republicans take in 2016? Can a Republican presidential candidate win in 2016 by campaigning on repealing, defunding, or dismantling Obamacare?
John Feehery, President of Communications and Director of Government Affairs for the consulting group Quinn Gillespie and Associates and former communications director for Majority Leader Dennis Hastert and Majority Whip Tom DeLay
David Carney, CEO, Norway Hill Associates, Inc., a political consultant firm based in New Hampshire. Former political director of the George H.W. Bush White House and was a top political strategist for the Rick Perry’s 2012 presidential campaign