The conventional wisdom is that the 49 Democrats from congressional districts that backed John McCain last fall are those likely to tip the balance in the current debate on health care.
Given the results of last Tuesday’s elections, however, those Democrats for districts which delivered 45% of their votes (or more) to the Republican should also be concerned. And maybe even those from districts which delivered fewer than 57% of their votes to Barack Obama last fall.
In his analysis of those elections, Karl Rove observed, “The overall shift away from Democrats was 13 points in Virginia, 12 points in New Jersey, and eight points in Pennsylvania.”
Given the growing opposition to PelosiCare, a shift of eight points no longer seems out of the question (should the bill pass), indeed, it now seems increasingly likely in next fall’s elections. Many Democrats may find themselves in a bind though, knowing that if they vote, “No,” in the interests of appeasing their constituents, they may well incur the ire of the party’s left-wing base, drying up sources of financial support and campaign volunteers.
Even passage of the bill today does not mean Obama/Pelosicare becomes the law of the land. Remember that while the House may have passed the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill by the narrowest of margins back in June, neither House seems any closer to passing a companion version in the Senate and reconciling the differences so they can send it to President Obama for his signature.
Should Mrs. Pelosi’s bill pass today, many of those Democrats who vote in favor–and not just the 49 from “McCain districts” are going to hear from their constituents. And I daresay what they hear may cause a few of them to change their votes the next time they have to vote on such legislation.