The House Freedom Caucus (HFC) has been under intense fire for their integral role in keeping the GOP from breaking their biggest promise in decades: Repeal and Replace ObamaCare. They’ve been threatened with primary election opponents and told that they’ve doomed the Republican Party by “making perfect the enemy of the good.” While President Trump and Senate leadership look to even further water down their weak bill by partnering with Democrats, the HFC stood by their promise.
Since Speaker Ryan pulled the ACHA, plenty of sources in Congress and the punditry have made the argument that the members of the HFC put their congressional seats in jeopardy and have done significant electoral harm to the GOP in general. Thanks to an incredible suite of analysis by WPA Research, we can now put that notion to bed as utterly false.
Data from three WPA national predictive models on 1) Speaker Ryan’s AHCA, 2) Obamacare, and 3) a plan to fully repeal Obamacare and replace it with market-based solutions show that the Freedom Caucus members were, in fact, doing the will of their constituents in helping defeat the AHCA.
Moreover, the data show overwhelming support for full repeal and replace and suggest that the House Freedom Caucus did the Senate, and Republicans’ hopes of expanding their Senate majority, a great service in stopping the bill before it made it across the Capitol.
THE HOUSE FREEDOM CAUCUS DID WHAT THEIR CONSTITUENTS WANTED
Whatever negative things opponents may say about members of the House Freedom Caucus, it’s dishonest to say that they acted against the will of their constituents. Not only do their districts strongly favor full repeal of ObamaCare but in only one member’s case did they prefer the half-measure ACHA bill to leaving ObamaCare intact.
This carefully researched and modeled data makes clear that each member of the HFC did the explicit will of their constituents. Members’ resolve to stand by their principles and districts should be reinforced by these findings. They have nothing to fear from electoral threats, whether by President Trump or their own Republican leadership.
DEATH-SPIRALING OBAMACARE STILL MORE POPULAR THAN ACHA
While the Senate never got an opportunity to vote on the ACHA, leadership and many members voiced resounding support for the pitiful bill. They hoped that they could deceive their constituents into believing that the ACHA represented a promise kept, and that it would translate into rising support when many of them headed out on the campaign trail for re-election next year. WPA Research’s data, however, shows that doing so would seriously broken with their electorate’s desires and put Republican seats in jeopardy.
EVERY SENATE BATTLEGROUND OPPOSES ACHA
It turns out that keeping promises matters. The crop of Republicans up for Senate re-election were carried to victory on one promise: full repeal and replacement of ObamaCare. Democrats on the ballot in 2018 haven’t faced voters since so many of the negative effects of that legislation became crystal clear to voters.
WPA Research’s analysis shows that not only is true Repeal-Replace a winner in Republican states but that it will put Democrats in a very tight electoral bind. Failure to take action could jeopardize the tenuous Republican majority but fulfilling their 7-year promise could provide an opportunity to pick up several key seats.
While it is clear the constituents of House Freedom Caucus members prefer repeal and replace, supporting this approach would also be a net-win in the key 2018 Senate states. Likewise, a vote to preserve Obamacare, rather than repealing and replacing, would be a net-loss for endangered Democrats.
The table below shows the number of supporters who prefer a repeal-and-replace plan versus those who support keeping Obamacare as is. While the margins are tight in some states, in every state there is a net preference for repeal-and-replace.
Our models illustrate the supported course of action is move a repeal-and-replace bill. Not only does this positioning have overwhelming support in each state, it would force endangered Democrats to choose between their party and their constituents.
DON’T FALL FOR THE LIES
Moderate Republicans are stinging from the defeat of the ACHA and will continue to lash out at conservatives and the HFC in particular. The WPA Research analysis shows clearly that the HFC’s efforts have not only stood by their district’s desires but protected the GOP’s electoral chances in 2018.
This data shows one clear course forward: Repeal and Replace Obamacare. Further, it makes clear that crafting an even more liberal piece of legislation would spell absolute doom for Republicans.
The GOP must honor their promise and completely repeal and replace this disaster of a law.