Massachusetts Election Results:Regardless of the Massachusetts Senate election results tomorrow, Republicans will argue that Congress shouldn’t pass health care reform.
Scenario one (depressingly, what looks like the more likely one): Republican candidate Brown beats Democrat Coakley, giving the Republicans 41 seats in the Senate, enough to filibuster health care. But no further Senate votes would be required if the House just passed the Senate bill.
Although such a course would be legal, Republicans will argue that it would violate some small-d democratic will that Mass. voters just expressed.
Scenario two: Martha Coakley somehow manages to pull it off. Republicans will still argue that passing health care reform is illegitimate. If even the voters of same-sex-marriage-Taxachusetts are against health care reform to the extent that Ted Kennedy’s successor had such a fight on her hands, The People will have spoken.
Look, let’s remember what’s at stake here. If Scott Brown wins tomorrow, Senate Republicans will be representing a little bit under 40% of the U.S. population. Democrats still have majorities in the House and Senate that exceed anything Republicans have had since before World War One. Sure, you can poll health care all you want, but issue polling is notoriously bad and there’s no reason why it should trump actual results of actual elections, regardless of the arbitrocracy that is the United States Senate.
There’s a good reason for having fixed terms for elected officials: there’s a timeline that everyone knows in advance by which they have to deliver something. The only reason why we’re not abiding by that schedule now is the tragic death of Ted Kennedy, without which this would not be an issue.
Believe me, if Democrats don’t pass a health reform bill, especially after having voted for it already, they’ll have all the negative baggage of voting for something without the actual benefit of implementing progress in policy. Democrats were likely to lose seats in 2010 anyway; there’s no precedent in 75 years for a party gaining seats three election cycles in a row, and if you can’t use political victories to implement one of the most important items in a party’s agenda, as some have suggested that the Democrats do, then what’s the point of even trying to win elections in the first place?
Oh, and finally, anyone who thinks that the sour political mood afflicting Democrats these days isn’t a function of the crappy macroeconomic conditions of the day is either deluded or trying to delude you.