Obamacare vs. Trumpcare: The Looming Battle For Hearts & Minds

Against my advice, the Trump administration is beginning its legislative agenda the way the GOP in Congress wants – repealing and replacing Obamacare.

Donald Trump and the Republican Party must take great heed. If they don’t get this right, if this healthcare fight becomes a costly war of attrition in the muddy trenches, it could well destroy President Trump’s ability to get anything else done, much like this exact scenario did with President Barack Obama.

Do you see why I wanted President Trump to do the tax cuts first and then focus on immigration?

Anyway, here we are. Donald Trump, master persuader that he is, knows the stakes. He’s said multiple times that the Democrats have owned the implosion of Obamacare.

So far, I don’t like the House GOP bill at all. Where’s the price transparency, the drug imports, the ability to purchase health insurance across state lines? Paul Ryan was always the most dangerous person in the path of Donald Trump. He should heed the advice of Louis XIV:

No secret can be safe in their keeping for they may, from mere simplicity and ignorance, discover what should be concealed, or if they possess wit and knowledge, they seldom fail to form secret intrigues and connections; they have them a certain set of counselors, who are to advise them how to preserve or promote their own greatness, to whom they never fail to impart everything which they know, with a view merely to those advantages which they may derive from the circumstance.

Louis was talking about his mistresses here, but the same sort of rule applies – the master must be wary even of close allies and Paul Ryan, whether through ignorance of persuasion or some pernicious motives, is the man best positioned to destroy Donald Trump. Not the “intelligence community.” Not the fake news. Not the Democrats. Paul Ryan.

I’m not saying Paul Ryan wants to destroy President Donald Trump, I’m just saying that he’s best positioned to do so.

I’m also not here to quibble over “policy.” You can go anywhere for that. Here’s the real deal.

Right out of the gate, everyone is calling this “Trumpcare.”

Do not underestimate the power of this word. “Trumpcare” is highly effective.

Remember, people think in labels, not nuance. Labels drive behavior.

Let’s rewind a bit. In early 2010, the Democrats railroaded the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act through Congress and President Barack Obama signed it. In a rare act of powerful persuasion, the Republicans labeled it “Obamacare.”

In late 2010, the Democrats got crushed in the mid-term elections at all levels. The Republicans regained control of the House.

In 2012, the Democrats were able to ride the personal charisma and magnetism of Barack Obama to save themselves.

In 2014, the Democrats got crushed in the mid-term elections at all levels. The Republicans regained control of the Senate.

In 2016, the Democrats got crushed in elections at all levels. The Republicans regained control of the White House.

Obamacare was a big reason why and it wasn’t just the difficulties with the law. Something else was at work that magnified them.

As Scott Adams has mentioned many times, identity is the strongest form of persuasion.

“Obamacare” firmly planted the identity of Barack Obama on the Affordable Care Act. “Repealing Obamacare” sounds much better than “repealing the Affordable Care Act.” Who doesn’t want affordable care?

But more importantly, when the “Affordable Care Act” began to get…unaffordable, you saw the face of Barack Obama. When your premium rose astronomically, you saw the face of Barack Obama. When your deductible shot skyward, you saw the face of Barack Obama. When insurers began to dwindle, you saw the face of Barack Obama.

And you weren’t the only one. “Obamacare” became the accepted name in the cultural jargon for many reasons. This was one of them.

Hence the danger to Donald Trump now. If the healthcare bill isn’t done right (which means only one thing – lowering costs), then it will be personalized to Donald Trump, called “Trumpcare” all over the place, and could well destroy the Republican Party, or at least prevent Donald Trump and the Republicans from passing anything else important.

Who knows, maybe a disastrous “Trumpcare” could deliver Congress to the Democrats and allow them to impeach and remove President Trump. There would certainly be some who would want to try.

It once again shows you the stakes in this Trumpcare vs. Obamacare battle.

Trumpcare vs. Obamacare
Trumpcare vs. Obamacare. Put it at this year’s WrestleMania!

The Trumpcare vs. Obamacare battle is at its deepest level a persuasion battle, with the hot-words “Trumpcare” and “Obamacare” as the biggest weapons. It is, quite literally, a battle between two faces. Barack Obama and the Democrats already lost. Donald Trump and the Republicans now simply need to not lose themselves.

But given how this “Trumpcare” bill has started and their history of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, the Republicans will need to be watched very closely.

Because you probably want to learn how to not snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, read Stumped.

  • Dan

    I have no doubt Trump understands the gravity of this healthcare plan. What’s destroying him most right now is something he had know idea didn’t exist. Despite all the screaming about Repeal and Replace FOR Years by Cruz and the rest ; in 7yrs they have nothing ready to go. This is making the GOP look very bad to the public and the love for Trump will only carry so much weight till people start to turn.

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    • As noted, the Republicans have a habit of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

      It’s not a good sign that he’s pushing for the plan as it stands, but hopefully he’s angling for a negotiation.

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