Within a week of the bill’s unveiling, rank-and-file House Republicans have been told they could lose their jobs if they don’t pass the Obamacare replacement plan—and if they do.
First, President Trump warned lawmakers of an electoral “bloodbath” should they not stick to their repeated promises to repeal the seven-year-old health care law. He also threatened to support the primary challenger of any Republican that doesn’t back the bill, a vow directed toward conservatives who have been particularly vocal in their criticism.
Then Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican and at one time a potential 2020 presidential contender, said Sunday on ABC News’s This Week that by voting for the bill House Republicans would be walking the plank and potentially putting “the House majority at risk next year.”
The alarming reality for House Republicans is that both could be right, particularly with Trump’s job approval currently at 45 percent. The president’s unpopularity and the potential expansion of competitive territory gives Democrats an opportunity to pick up the 24 seats they need.
As Nathan Gonzales noted Friday for Inside Elections, the president’s party lost seats in 18 of the last 20 midterms at an average of 33 seats per election.
— Kyle Trygstad