Does resistance work?

David Leonhardt, Op-Ed columnist at the New York Times, believes it does – at least in the case of the Affordable Care Act “Repeal and Replace” attempts by the GOP.

He cites how opposition (“resistance”) to the Republican health care bill was “ready” and apparent during the recent July 4 recess and town hall meetings – which many Republican lawmakers “chickenheartedly” decided to skip.

One exception was Jerry Moran, the junior (Republican) U.S. Senator from Kansas, who held his townhall meeting July 6 in Palco, Kansas, and got an earful from the more than 100 Kansans who showed up.

The “overwhelming” message was “Don’t take health insurance away from people.”

As Allison Kite of the Topeka Capital-Journal reported:

“Advocacy groups Planned Parenthood Great Plains Voters and Indivisible KC worked to bring attendees from across the state to the event. Other groups, such as AARP, the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas and the American Cancer Society have urged volunteers and members to tell Moran and U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, a fellow Kansas Republican, to reject the bill.”

Moran is one of two additional Republican senators who, along with two other Senators who had previously said they would vote “NO,” stopped Trumpcare dead in its tracks.

Leonhardt adds:

I’m not suggesting that the Palco meeting was the main reason for Moran’s decision. Yet he clearly felt political pressure to oppose the bill, and his recent meetings with constituents were a big part of that pressure.

Just as the Tea Party in 2010 showed that grass-roots political organizing works, “the so-called Trump resistance has showed the same in recent months,” says Leonhardt.

And,

The fight to allow Americans to keep their health insurance still isn’t over, as Andy Slavitt, the former administrator of Medicare and Medicaid, noted last night. But the collapse of this bill is no small thing.

It would be excellent news if Congress now turned its attention to fixing the real problems with Obamacare and the health care system.

Instead, Republicans are now contemplating an even more foolhardy plan, “repeal now and replace later,” a reckless and cruel move that would only create chaos, mayhem in our healthcare system and could lead to unnecessary suffering and hardship to Americans.

Fortunately, cooler heads may prevail: “Plan C” – Repeal now and replace later — also seems to be collapsing.

In another Times column, Leonhardt mentions how the Trump era is coarsening our discourse and how recently political discussion can spiral into nasty, personal arguments.

He says:

By all means, Trump’s opponents should continue to fight — for health care, civil rights, the climate and truth itself. But there is also a quieter step that’s worth taking no matter your views, for the sake of nourishing your political soul.

President Trump’s approach to the presidency requires principled opposition, as the health care fight has shown. But political battles — even just watching such battles — can be exhausting. They can also aggravate political polarization, causing people to turn every political debate into a nasty fight.

Leonhardt makes some suggestions, but urges prudence.

Interesting. Read it here.

Lead image, Jeffery Scism, flickr.com

Dorian de Wind, Military Affairs Columnist
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