A question the answer to which will become clearer over the next several weeks is how much of an impact TrumpCare will have on special elections in Montana and Georgia.
Democrats are hopeful the health care issue in particular will help them flip the House in 2018 and that the upcoming special elections will provide a signal for what we might expect next year.
In Montana, Republican Greg Gianforte has tried to appear ambivalent about the bill in public, no doubt because it’s polling so badly nationally. When taking to donors, however, he’s been a good party team player. In Georgia, GOP candidate Karen Handel has embraced Trumpism in a big way including on this bill. In both cases, they’ll probably have to wear their party’s actions come Election Day.
The Democrats in the Georgia and Montana special elections (Jon Ossoff in the Georgia 6th and Rob Quist in the state-wide Montana seat) are proxies for the party, so these elections will be referenda in Trump.
Health care reform will be a part of the equation, but I suspect in a more general sense buyer’s remorse over Trump will also be on display.
Someone wrote this past weekend that electing Trump was a way for the middle class to give the middle finger to America (A line I wish I had thought of first). Many of these voters simply wanted to be heard, but now that they have made their point they are slowly starting to recognize it might be time to get back to finding people who can actually govern competently.
The midterms are a year and a half away, so how much one can glean from special elections this early out is hard to tell. Perhaps we can agree that Democrats even keeping it close in what should be safe GOP seats is not good for those who want to make everything over in Trump’s image.
Now that America better understands that too many of us are hurting, too many feel that politics-as-usual won’t do, we can get back to the serious job of finding real solutions and skilled leadership. That’s what I hope special elections and midterms signal. Or maybe now that the weather is starting to break in the northeast, I’ve decided to be hopeful.