Warner on ObamaCare

The Warner / Gillespie debates have been available on C Span, and Channel 4.   They are important to the National dialogue, because control of the Senate is up for grabs, and both parties know what is at stake.  Virginia became a battleground State in 2008,  when after decades of voting for Republican Presidents, voted instead for Obama.


Sen. Mark Warner voted for Obamacare  with other Democrats along a party line vote.  Yet during recent debates with Senatorial hopeful Ed Gillespie, Warner has hedged his bet by stating that he cannot support Obamacare.   How can a candidate vote for Obamacare, but be against it?

Warner’s difficult argument is made even worse by the fact that Virginia leads the U.S. with the highest number of people who lost their insurance because of ObamaCare.  This group of citizens had insurance, were forced to sign up for ObamaCare, and now have lost that coverage.  Certainly not the outcome anyone hoped for; and certainly not the best position a Democrat Senator wants to be in ahead of the Mid Term elections.

A whopping 250,000 people have had their policies cancelled, and are now uninsured.  This unprecedented number of Virginians without insurance of any kind counters the Presidents 36 promises that they “would not lose coverage”.   It is little wonder that Warner would rather have voters believe that he is now against the controversial measure that he voted for.

But will northern Virginia buy into Warner’s argument that he is now against ObamaCare?   Recent influxes of voters into No. Virginia tend to have a more liberal bias.  Presumably there are areas of affluence which are not affected by lost insurance coverage.   In Leesburg, Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria, the presumption is that the employed and company insured voters are not affected by losing Obamacare, since they never signed up, or wouldn’t have qualified even if they wanted to sign up.  However, this presumption leaves out many demographics who are affected by lost insurance.

In Leesburg for instance, a highly affluent Liberal leaning demographic is offset by a population of 22 percent Latino, and 17 percent African American voters, making up 39 percent of the voting population.  By any measure these two groups are affected by the loss of insurance coverage, and left to fend for themselves two weeks before the Election in November.

Another troubling trend for Democrats is the fact that insurance premiums are going up, and the White House is keeping the information from millions of Americans until after the election in November.  Ordinarily the premium increase would be made public well ahead of the adjustment, so payees are aware of the changes, presumably so they can adjust their budgets to afford the premium increases.   The White House is betting that many voters would elect to cancel their policies altogether or pay a penalty rather than the increased premium.    By making this political calculation, the White House risks alienating many millions more voters across the country when the general elections occur in 2016.

Holding off decisions until after the Election has cost Obama dearly among some of his staunchest supporters.    After publicly declaring that the White House would hold off on taking any action about Immigration policies until after the Election, Latino voters reacted with cynicism, and outright contempt.  After promising that he would act “unilaterally if necessary” to solve the issue, President Obama did an about face, and decided that he would act after the Election.   His support among Latino voters has dropped by almost half  since making the announcement.

Warner’s job to get re elected is not going to be easy, as the gap between he and Ed Gillespie shrinks.   He was recently sited as taking bribes by NBC 4 Washington, this weekend.   This  bout of bad press came to light, when it was discovered that it was Mark Warner who was involved in the bruhaha over Republicans taking control of the Legislature in Richmond.  Warner apparently made calls to ex-state Senator Phillip Puckett.

In an attempt to gain control of the narrative, Mark Warner only 3 hours before this post took the extraordinary measure of explaining why he was involved in Phillip Puckett’s future and his daughter’s future.  Democrats have cried foul since Phuckett stepped down, giving control of the Virginia Legislature to the Republicans.

Phuckett, a Democrat has said all along that he stepped aside because his daughter would become a Judge, and he did not wish to be identified with any conflicts of interest.  Furious Democrats have been suspicious almost from the beginning, and with nothing more than those suspicions have tried to paint Republicans as offering Phuckett something in return for his retirement, namely a new better paying job than a Legislator.

When the story broke that Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat was also involved in Phuckett’s retirement, stories flew furiously over local media, with NBC 4 stating over the weekend that Sen. Warner had taken bribes.   NBC 4 has had to take those statements back, but the damage to Warner’s reputation was enough for Warner to have to issue a story today, quoted in local papers that he was only calling in a friendly manner to Phuckett to try to help out, and see how was doing.

Can Warner pull off another win, and strengthen Virginia’s rise in National Elections?  It is no secret that Northern Virginia, and it’s dense population centers around Washington have been swinging the national balancing act.  Obama was successful in both of his bids for President, largely because of the shift to a more Liberal voting base.  Some of the sociocultural shift however, was due to younger voters, especially millennials who have grown weary under Obama’s policies and somewhat disillusioned by the prolonged recession, slow rate of jobs growth, underemployment and inability to invest in homes or affordable housing.

Warner will probably have more to discuss in his final debate with Ed Gillespie Monday night.  The Phuckett issue, his changed position on ObamaCare, the trend among Latino and African American voters to abandon their loyalty to Democrats, and millennial flight from the Democrat party, spell the opposite trend for Democrats in Northern Virginia.  In almost all Mid Term elections since Eisenhower, Democrat turnout has been double digit percentage points lower than Republican turnout at the polls.

History tells us that Warner has even more to worry about than Obamacare.  He will have to win every single vote he can from his own supporters, AND Warner will need votes from Republicans in order to win.   Gillespie could very well upset Warner, and reverse the tide in Northern Virginia toward liberalism.



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