GOP Congressman/Gubernatorial Candidate Ralph Abraham—“Poor People Who Want Health Care Are Voting, Not Working for a Living” April 7, 2019
And our Liar-in-Chief just keeps on “lying, lying, and lying.” He is incapable of doing anything else. On 3/26/2019, Donald arrived on Capitol Hill and proclaimed before his loyalist GOP lawmakers, “the Republican Party is the party of healthcare (cnn.com, Raju, Mattingly, Serfaty, and Foran, 3/26/19).” The day before Trump made this Pinocchio plus statement, 2/25/2019, Demagogue Donald’s Justice Department, headed by Attorney General William Barr, sent a two-sentence letter to the New Orleans-based U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. In this letter, Barr/Trump’s Justice Department wrote, “It is not urging that any portion of the district court’s judgment be reversed (cnn.com, Vasquez, M., 3/26/19).” Translation: The Barr/Trump Justice Department is now seeking to overturn the entire Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, and every last one of its thousands of provisions (nytimes.com, Bagley, N., 3/27/19). Barr’s Justice Department, with Trump’s endorsement, is now asking that the 5th Circuit affirm or uphold the sweeping 12/14/2018 opinion of Fort Worth, TX Federal District Judge Reed O’Connor (cnn.com, deVogue, A. & Luhby, T., 12/14/18). O’Connor’s initial opinion was triggered by a lawsuit brought by GOP governors and state attorney generals to strike down Obamacare. Officials from CA and more than a dozen other states intervened to defend that law. In his ruling, O’Connor stated that the individual mandate requiring people to have health insurance “can no longer be sustained as an exercise of Congress’ tax power,” because Congress (in its 2017 1% tax cut act) had eliminated the tax penalty for people who go without health insurance. O’Connor stated, “the individual mandate is unconstitutional and the remaining provisions of the Affordable Care Act are also invalid (nytimes.com, Pear, R., 3/25/19).” When the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare in 2012, it was a 5-4 decision. Conservative Chief Justice (CJ) John Roberts agreed with the four liberal Justices that Obamacare was based on the taxing power of the original mandate provision enacted by Congress. CJ Roberts would not have joined the other four Justices to uphold the law under Congress’ power to regulate interstate commerce or on any other ground.
Many constitutional law scholars have reasonably argued that District Judge O’Connor’s throwing out the entire Affordable Care Act is an extremely radical and dubious action. According to a series of U.S. Supreme Court cases, when one part of a law is struck down as unconstitutional, courts must try to preserve the rest of the legislation. When this Obamacare challenge was first heard in O’Connor’s District Court, the Trump administration, under then Attorney General Jeff Sessions, “only” asked that the individual mandate and provisions relating to protecting individuals with pre-existing conditions be invalidated (cnn.com, deVogue & Luhby, 12/14/18). That was bad enough. Now, Atty. General Barr is going all the way to completely destroy Obamacare. Barr himself initially objected along with the Health and Human Services Secretary and White House counsel to this radical administration change in its position. However, “No Collusion, No Obstruction” Barr, despite, his original views, just blindly follows Donald’s orders. Trump, of course, wants to completely obliterate Obama’s legacy and will use anyone and any institution to do it (See Filopovic, J., cnn.com, 3/27/19, cnn.com, 3/29/19, Vladeck, S.).
Trump was unable to repeal Obamacare when both congressional chambers were in control of “Team Red” in 2017, thanks in part to dying Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). Trump and his fellow conservatives constantly criticize progressives for going to the courts to win what they can’t get in Congress. Now Trump and his GOP gang are using this very same tactic. “Team Red” hopes that these unelected judicial officials will bail them out by destroying Obamacare. Trump, after being “exonerated” on 3/24/2019 by Barr over collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice, stomped on his own “victory” message by wading, once again, into the deep repeal health care fetid swamp. IMHO, deluded Donald now feels emboldened to do anything, despite public polling to the contrary disagreeing with his “exoneration” over Russian collusion or the obstruction of justice issues (See CNN Poll, cnn.com, Agiesta, 3/27/19, Morning Consult/Politico Poll, politico.com, Shepard, 3/26/19).
Most commentators pointed out Trump just gave Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a fantastic 3/26/2019 birthday present—trying to repeal health care again. The Democrats’ disappointment in the Mueller report findings has, therefore, been moved to the political back burner. Donald supplied all House and Senate Democrats as well as the eventual 2020 Democratic presidential nominee with concrete proof that he and his GOP foot soldiers will never stop running on repealing Obamacare. Although Obamacare was initially unpopular and cost the Democrats control of the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2014, Campaign 2018 was another story. More than 40% of the 2018 midterm voters stated that health care was their top priority and according to exit polling, Democrats won those voters by 52 points, taking back 40 House seats and minimizing their Senate losses (Cillizza, cnn.com, 3/26/19). In 2019, a Kaiser Family Foundation poll on the Affordable Care Act/ACA found that 50% now approve of this law, v. 37% who oppose it, a “y uu ge” 13% margin. Trump, by trying to repeal Obamacare again, has made this issue a major, if not, the major Democratic one in Campaign 2020. To paraphrase Obama in a 2012 debate with Romney, “Please proceed, Donald.”
Should the Supreme Court, ultimately, reverse Obamacare, more than 20 million Americans would lose their health insurance, including those in the 37 states, including DC, who have adopted Medicaid expansion under that law (cnn.com, Wolf, Z., 3/27/18, kff.org/Medicaid, 2/13/19). At least 133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions under the age of 65 could be disqualified from buying health insurance policies or be forced to pay significantly higher premiums (nytimes.com, Abelson, Goodnough, & Pear, 3/26/19). Several “Red” and “Red-leaning” states including Louisiana, Ohio, Alaska, and Arkansas have adopted Medicaid expansion under Obamacare.
However, many of the GOP Congressmen from those states continue to vehemently oppose Obamacare. Witness GOP Cong. Ralph Abraham. In an audio captured at a 3/19/2019 Natchitoches, LA fundraiser where participants paid $250 a plate for a luncheon, Abraham stated, “Poor people care more about voting for a living instead of working for a living. If they’re on that program of the government—and it could be a state or federal program—what are they going to do? They’re going to vote to keep that program going.” (shareblue.com, Willis, O., 3/26/19). Translation: Poor people “vote for a living,” instead of working. This talk is not an outlier among GOPers. Remember Mitt Romney’s 2012 similar comments to his rich friends about the “47 percent of Americans who don’t pay federal income tax who feel ‘entitled to government handouts (thedailybeast.com, Peterson, J., 9/27/12)?’” Many other GOPers see Americans not in their high-income brackets as similar “moochers and takers.” And how dare Cong. Abraham attack every individual’s right to vote! I guess, according to elitist Abraham, only the rich should be allowed to vote. Who is this Cong. Abraham?
Third-term GOP Congressman Ralph Lee Abraham Jr. (64) currently represents LA’s 5th Congressional District (CD). He is running for Governor of LA at the end of 2019. He hopes to defeat Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards who in 2016 enacted Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, cutting the number of LA individuals without health insurance in half from 22.7% down to 11.4% (kentucky.com/living/health). Abraham’s present LA 5th CD encompasses that state’s northeastern corner, taking in all or part of 24 parishes, the Pelican State’s term for counties. The 5th borders the AR and MS borders. It contains only two midsize cities, Monroe and Alexandria. The 5th ‘s economic pillars are pulp and paper mills. Much of the 5th is heavily rural and agricultural (CQ 14 & Barone 14 Political Almanacs, Ballotpedia.org).
Before the Civil War, the 5th was plantation country. There are still African American majorities in many parishes and blacks make up 35.9% of this district. In the 5th ‘s hill country, white farmers eke out a living. Huey Long, LA’s influential 1920’s and 1930’s Governor and Senator, came from the 5th. Poverty and high unemployment plague this CD. Despite Long’s populism and the black population, this CD is a GOP stronghold. The latest Cook Partisan Voting Index (PVI) gives the 5th a “Rock Red” R+15 score. In 2008, McCain beat Obama by 25 points, and Romney clobbered him in 2012 by 23. In 2016, Donald thrashed Hillary by 29.4 points (CQ & Barone 14, cookpolitical.com, 4/07/17, washingtonpost.com/election, 2/19/19)
Monroe LA native Ralph Abraham received veterinarian and medical degrees from LA State University. He served in the Coast Guard Auxiliary and MS National Guard (CQ 116th Cong. At Your Fingertips, ralphabraham.com). He won his first election to Congress in 2014, smashing his Dem. opponent by 28.4 points. He was handily re-elected in 2016 and 2018 (2014 7 2016 LA Elections, Early Guide CQ Almanac 116th Cong.).
In the House, Cong. Abraham has voted with wacko TX GOP Cong. Louie Gohmert about 90% of the time. Abraham has voted with Demagogue Donald nearly 93% of the time (propublica.com, projectsfivethirtyeight.com). He has, as previously noted, been a strong opponent of Obamacare and is running against Gov. Edwards’ lifesaving expansion of Medicaid (Kaleb, C., thenewsstar.com, 11/20/14). Abraham supported the top 1% tax cut. He endorses efforts to ban transgender people from the military “100 percent (salon.com, Gamard, S., 8/09/17).” Although Abraham’s paternal grandparents were Lebanese immigrants, he opposes amnesty for present-day illegals and backs Donald’s 2017 travel ban to halt immigration from several Muslim majority countries. He supports Trump’s temporary suspension of refugees and immigrants (denverpost.com, Blake, 1/29/17).
In this “Royal Red” District, a GOPer will, no doubt, easily replace Cong. Abraham should he win the gubernatorial race. Dem. Edwards seems to be doing well in LA, but in this Dixiecrat-conservative state, many Democrats normally vote GOP and Edwards can take nothing for granted. He is the only Deep South “Blue” Governor and the GOP and their “Red” leaning allies will pour money “big time” into this race to oust him. Democrats must financially level the playing field for Edwards and get their voters out for him. Democrats still win in LA. On 3/30/2019, in two special elections, Democrats took two LA state House Assembly seats in areas which Trump carried by 17 and 18 points. In the region that Trump carried by 17 points, Democrat Jeremy La Combe flipped that seat “Blue.” Democrats also retained the other House seat where Trump had carried the voters by 18 points (see dlcc.org, 3/30/19). LA and national Democrats must run on saving and improving Obamacare in 2019 and 2020. Should Democrats lose the House, not take back the White House, and fail to recapture the Senate, Donald has promised that if the courts do not strike down Obamacare, the GOP will try to repeal it after the 2020 election (See cnn.com, Diamond & Feldscher, 4/02/19). The only way to repudiate Donald, Cong. Abraham, and their associates is to vote in droves to save Obamacare in 2020.