Things are looking worse and worse for Ted Cruz's re-election race, and his new pitch to voters isn't going to help him at all.
Texas Republican Ted Cruz is facing an increasingly competitive battle to hold on to his Senate seat, but his new promise to voters is likely to make his chances that much worse.
Instead of trying to boost his numbers with Texas voters, Cruz is vowing to do something deeply unpopular: try again to repeal Obamacare.
“I believe we need to do everything humanly possible to deliver on the promises we made to voters and to score major substantive victories for the American people while we have majorities in both houses and a Republican president,” Cruz told a group of his Republican colleagues last week.
And what does he mean by that?
“We need to finish the job at Obamacare.”
That’s a bizarre and potentially dangerous stance to take, given that Obamacare’s popularity is at a record high.
Republicans’ efforts last year to repeal the health care law blew up in their faces, with the program’s approval numbers going up as the GOP was trying to kill it.
The party’s attempts at sabotage haven’t helped either. Americans enrolled in Obamacare in record numbers last fall, despite the Trump administration’s effort to discourage enrollment.
Worse still for Republicans, a recent HuffPost/YouGov poll found 30 percent of registered voters list health care as their top issue this election, and voters trust Democrats over Republicans when it comes to handling health care issues.
In other words, Republicans’ attempts to destroy Obamacare helped push voters who care about health care right into the arms of the Democratic Party.
Amazingly, Cruz isn’t even the only Republican senator up for re-election this year who’s dipping a toe in the repeal waters again. Nevada’s Dean Heller, often cited as the most vulnerable senator, told a group of Republicans at a private luncheon that if re-elected he would fight again to repeal Obamacare.
“If we have 51 Republicans that will vote to repeal and replace, it will happen,” he insisted. Heller’s vote for the failed repeal bill has only hurt him with his constituents and further jeopardized his chances of keeping his job.
It’s a patently desperate move, hoping to rally the base by revisiting an election pitch that used to work for Republicans. But that was before the party took over the White House and Congress, and proved they still cannot follow through.
In the meantime, Obamacare has become more popular than ever. Threatening to gut health care is unlikely to help those Republicans realizing their days may be numbered.
But they don’t have many other options. Despite full control of the federal government, the party has almost nothing to show for it, and they know it. Their singular achievement — a tax scam that gives billions to corporations and the ultra-wealthy — is incredibly unpopular with voters.
So as unlikely as it is to actually work, for Republicans like Cruz — whose Democratic challenger Rep. Beto O’Rourke is outraising him and tying him in the polls — going back to the tired and failed repeal well is all they have left.