Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Brief Political Aside

The most excellent Jay Cost has a sensible post up about today's three big races in which he argues that the outcomes don't really mean anything in the long (or even medium) term. I think he's right about that.

What Cost overlooks, I think, is the influence these elections may have on a very short-term matter: the Obama health reform movement. I'd guess that there's a real chance--maybe 1-in3--that all three Democrats lose. If Republicans hit the trifecta, it could scare the moderate Dems Obama needs to pass a major healthcare bill. I don't know that a GOP sweep would be enough to kill the bill outright, but at the very least, there would be Democrats who needed to be talked off the ledge. (Or, depending on your point of view, back out onto the ledge.)

So the real question is this: If today's results were to alter the healthcare calculus, would that outcome have any bearing on the medium-to-long-term future? It wouldn't be crazy to think that it would.

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