Republican lawmakers intent on dismantling Obamacare face some serious hurdles, among them their own constituents angry at the thought of losing coverage and the difficult balancing act party leaders have created for themselves. With the House repeal plan a mystery revealed only to a few, and failure a real option, conservatives in the political network put together by the Koch brothers must be worried that the Affordable Care Act could survive the Trump Era reasonably intact.
Their response: to remind Republicans that conservatives will hold them responsible if the movement misses the moment to achieve its dearest goal. To get the message across, they’re mobilizing supporters and preparing an online ad blitz targeting their erstwhile allies:
The initial phase, which will cost in the low six figures, will include a nationwide digital advertising campaign featuring testimonials from people who say they were harmed by the Affordable Care Act. On Tuesday, the groups will kick off the effort with a rally near the Capitol, from which they will dispatch activists to congressional offices. Beyond that, Americans for Prosperity said it was prepared to bring “significant resources” to bear as needed.
As we’ve discussed many times, digital ads are perfect for this kind of targeted campaign, since activist groups like AFP can aim them at specific Congressional districts and zero-in on specific constituencies within those districts. By targeting Republicans and conservatives, they can direct their messaging where it’s likely to get the strongest response, for example. By linking the ads to an online advocacy system, they can turn a moment of outrage into a direct contact (by phone or email) with a Congressmember’s office.
For Republicans buffeted by pro-Obamacare activists at recent town halls and in-district meetings, riled-up conservative constituents may serve as welcome cover. For others who see the need to compromise to get something done, AFP and its allies may limit their viable political options and box them in.
Which is exactly the point. Why bother taking the White House and both chambers of Congress if you can’t achieve your number-one policy goal? Assuming, of course, that what you want to do is even remotely achievable in practice. No compromise on the question of the perfect vs. the possible? Quite possibly, that means no Obamacare repeal.