Conservatives who loathe or fear Donald Trump have a tendency to depict the Republican front-runner as a reflection not of the party whose heart he is winning but the party that loathes him uniformly. To the burgeoning genre of conservative analyses attributing Trump’s rise to things conservatives already hate, National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar adds the passage of Obamacare:
Imagine, for a moment, the state of the 2010 midterms without Obamacare in the equation. Republicans would have run against the stagnant state of the economy with some success. But without the galvanizing opposition to Obama’s health care law—Republicans netted a whopping 63 House seats that year—Democrats would likely have narrowly kept control of Congress, and continued to press forward with Obama’s agenda. There would be tea-party-aligned Republicans elected, but absent the wave, not enough to form the concerted opposition that emerged. …
With intensifying energy on the Right, the biggest political threat to members emerged from within their own party, and they adapted accordingly.
Long story short, by shepherding a major social reform that has cut the uninsured rate in half while coming in well below its projected costs and bringing health-care inflation down to its lowest rate in recorded history, Obama angered Republicans, forcing them to nominate an ignorant, bigoted clown.
Of course, one might just as easily follow this historical analysis back to a different starting point. For instance, by successfully designing and implementing a reform that managed to bring down the uninsured rate in a market-friendly way that did not disrupt existing private insurance, Mitt Romney made it irresistibly tempting for Obama to follow his model. Romney is the one who paved the way for Trump!
But there is also another inescapable implication of Kraushaar’s argument. Kraushaar has insisted many, many times that the law is a political debacle for Democrats, and even predicted in 2013 that Democrats in Congress would probably join with Republicans to repeal it. Kraushaar has also predicted that Republicans have an edge that should make them the natural favorites to win in November.
But now he is saying that Obamacare set in motion a series of events that will lead to Republicans nominating an unelectable buffoon who, as Kraushaar has also said, “could blow the party to smithereens.” Not only has the law proven a substantive triumph, but it has all but guaranteed the election of a Democratic successor to Obama (who otherwise would have lost) and possibly destroyed the opposition party. This law just keeps getting better.