Anger is boiling over as the GOP ramps up its war against the poor and Donald Trump continues to violate the constitution. An congressional Republicans are so scared scared of facing voters in town hall meetings that they cancelling the events nationwide.
Republicans are finding out the hard way that the Affordable Care Act, while not perfect, is very popular with the 20 million people who have affordable insurance and the more than 100 million people with pre-existing conditions.
Constituents in Republican districts are turning out in droves to demand answers about the deadly repeal of the Affordable Care Act and the magical plan to replace it that Republicans haven’t been able to produce despite seven long years to come up with an alternative.
Last week, Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah was confronted with impassioned constituents who shouted questions, emotional pleas and raucous protesters that crystalized the GOP’s tough political road ahead as it forges ahead with rolling back Obama’s accomplishments, including the Affordable Care Act.
Now, Republican officeholders have been cancelling planned town halls because they don’t want to face critics upset that they may soon lose their health insurance or see an increase in costs as the GOP plans to undermine Obamacare.
Even worse, they don’t want organized progressive groups to show up with posters and video camera and determination to challenge them in public and post the confrontations on YouTube.
This cowardly response is nothing new from Republicans; it’s in line with their partisan ethic that “anything goes” to win, except playing fair. They cannot win in many states without gerrymandering federal and state districts, which allowed them to seize power after the 2010 Census. They cannot win widely in high turnout elections, hence their efforts to limit participation by creating barriers like new voter ID laws or restricting voting options favored by critics, like early voting on weekends.
Their partisan cowardice goes further by not wanting to reveal who is funding negative attack ads, thus they encourage super PACs to throw mud because they do not disclose donors. In contrast, they never stand up and say all sides should put forth their best ideas and allow citizens to decide, live with that verdict and fight another day. And in 2017, a new twist has emerged: the party that would stamp on others is hiding from voters.
Indeed, as The Washington Post reports, Republicans don’t like it when the tables are turned on them—that is, when their town hall meetings are not filled with angry Tea Partiers but with aggrieved citizens from their districts and organized progressives.
“Since Republicans took control of the House six years ago, helped by angry, viral town halls that embarrassed incumbent Democrats, big public meetings have become rarer and workarounds like the tele-town hall more common. But in the past week, as Indivisible, Organizing for America and other progressive groups have become more open about demanding town halls, some Republicans have become bolder about shutting them down,” WaPo wrote.
A few are even admitting this is exactly what’s going on.
“In a letter to constituents first shared by the Knoxville News Sentinel, Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.) said that he valued being accessible but would not indulge protesters by holding a public event,” WaPo noted. “I am not going to hold town hall meetings in this atmosphere, because they would very quickly turn into shouting opportunities for extremists, kooks and radicals,” Duncan said. “Also, I do not intend to give more publicity to those on the far left who have so much hatred, anger and frustration in them. I have never seen so many more sore losers as there are today.”
These Republicans are fine when their own propagandists are doing the yelling, namely those in right-wing media and related GOP groups, who conveniently ignore that progressives and others are doing what Tea Partiers have been doing for many years.
Such shamelessness is nothing new in Republican circles. It may even be part of their twisted political DNA—the attitude that everything they do is magically patriotic, all-American and justified. The truth is congressional Republicans are running away from the voters in their districts who have ample reasons to be angered at the GOP’s uncritical embrace of Trump and the far right’s extremist economic and cultural agenda.
Cowardice, plain and simple, and that’s just the start.