With March Madness fast approaching, it’s best not to have Obamacare going very far in your bracket. According to The Hill’s projections about which way Democratic members are leaning — and assuming that non-leaning Democrats would vote the same way as last time — Obamacare would currently lose by a tally of 207 (yeas) to 224 (nays). (And that’s even assuming that Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D., Ohio) will announce later this morning that, since the president was nice enough to ask him for his vote and to give him a ride in Air Force One, he’ll support the bill.)
Andy Wickersham and I have outlined the 40 key Democrats that Americans most need to contact and to whom they most need to make their voices heard. If all other Democrats vote the same way as they did before, while all Republicans vote against the bill as expected, then President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and company would need 27 of these 40 for Obamacare to be deemed the law of the land. However, according to The Hill, only 5 of these 40 are currently leaning “yes,” while 12 are now leaning “no.”
Given the nature of these 40 members’ districts, this isn’t shocking (although it is highly encouraging). These Democrats reside in districts where Republican presidential candidates have won by an average of 6 over the last three elections. Since Democratic presidential candidates have won by 2 percentage points nationally over that same span, these 40 members’ districts, on average, are 8 points to the right of the country as a whole — and 32 points to the right of Massachusetts.
President Obama is imploring these 40 members, and others, to help him “make history.” But most of them don’t want to become history themselves this November. Besides, there is making history, and there is living in infamy.
Even beyond our 40 (and Kucinich), three other Democrats who previously voted “yes” are now listed as leaning “no,” while none of the members who previously voted ”no” are now listed as leaning “yes.” Furthermore, of the 46 other members listed by The Hill who previously voted “yes” (and thus are assumed to be “yes” votes in my 207-to-224 tally), 27 are now listed as undecided (with the other 19 leaning “yes”). Comparatively, of the other 24 who previously voted “no,” only three are now listed as undecided (with 21 leaning “no”). With so many more of the undecideds — both among our 40 and otherwise – being prior “yes” votes, it won’t be easy for Democrats to make a major dent in their 17-vote deficit.
However, this is not the time to let up, but rather to push even harder. It should be encouraging to note that, contrary to President Obama’s fondest hopes, public opinion is indeed affecting Democratic representatives. Now let’s turn up the pressure all the more and put this game away.