Trump raised eyebrows recently when he accidentally told his rallygoers that the Democrats were the ones threatening their landmark legislative achievement of the Obama years—Obamacare.
Here we are, Folks. Trump: "The Democrat plan would obliterate Obamacare." pic.twitter.com/tgWSjIoZxf— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) November 6, 2018
“If Democrats gain power on Tuesday, one of their very first projects will be a socialist takeover of American healthcare,” Trump told his drooling crowd of hooting MAGA heads. “You know what’s happening. And your taxes are going to triple, maybe quadruple,” he continued, just making stuff up at this point. Then he apparently lost the plot because he said, “The Democrat plan would obliterate Obamacare. It will also—which is good—but leave the bad parts behind. It will destroy Medicare.”
It’s even more bizarre than that, because then he settled back into his usual schtick about how he ALMOST repealed Obamacare, if it weren’t for that dastardly John McCain. And also, hey, he got rid of the individual mandate (which, along with GOP sabotage efforts, are causing insurance premiums to rise).
The longer version of this dingbat quote is if anything even better. Trump says that Democrats will destroy Obamacare and that Obamacare is good. Then he says how McCain prevented Trump from destroying Obamacare but don't worry he's still going to destroy it next year. pic.twitter.com/l9MKzVBzmT— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) November 6, 2018
The backdrop of this truly nonsensical rant is that protecting pre-existing conditions is wildly popular, even amongst Republicans. But rather than genuinely adopt this popular policy position, Republicans nationwide have chosen to flat-out lie to their voters about their true position on the policy. They promise that they’re totally for protecting them and that they’ve always been for protecting them, despite their many statements and votes to the contrary and despite the fact that they’re trying to remove these protections in court. (A very political right-wing judge has been sitting on his ruling about pre-existing conditions for weeks, possibly because he knows it will hurt Republicans chances in the midterms.)
We’ve actually seen this play out multiple times in the past. Republicans will fight kicking and screaming against any kind of entitlement program until that program is enacted and proves popular. Then they immediately switch and claim that Democrats, who did the hard work of enacting the program, are the ones who are the true threat. Even now, Republicans are drawing up plans to cut Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare while telling their voters that they’ll protect these popular programs.
In fact, it goes all the way back to the New Deal. Here’s a video of the OG Democratic icon Franklin D. Roosevelt laying out the GOP scam in plain language.
“Let me warn you and let me warn the Nation against the smooth evasion which says, “Of course we believe all these things; we believe in social security; we believe in work for the unemployed; we believe in saving homes. Cross our hearts and hope to die, we believe in all these things; but we do not like the way the present Administration is doing them. Just turn them over to us. We will do all of them- we will do more of them we will do them better; and, most important of all, the doing of them will not cost anybody anything.”
Even though the GOP’s scam is old, it’s gotten much worse in recent years. The right-wing media’s refusal to honestly cover the news and inform their viewers about conservatives positions, coupled with GOP voters’ refusal to seek out neutral sources of information, is to blame.
Put simply, Republican elected officials think their voters are ignorant, gullible marks ripe for scamming in their quest to maintain power. It’s insulting, but there’s no way to get that information to GOP voters who insist on huffing the culture war rage fumes from gaslighting media outlets like Fox News.
It’s an ongoing crisis for Democracy and it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better. Until they suffer massive electoral defeats, there’s no incentive for them to abandon such a prosperous and time-honored con.