This article originally appeared at The Media Consortium.
The Republicans gained ground in last night’s midterm elections, recapturing the House and gaining seats in the Senate. Future House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) wasted no time in affirming that the GOP will try to repeal healthcare reform.
A full-scale repeal is unlikely in the next two years because the Democrats have retained control of the White House and the Senate. However, Republicans are already making noises about shutting down the government to force the issue. The House controls the nation’s purse strings, which confers significant leverage if the majority is willing to bring the government to a screeching halt to make a point.
Don’t assume they’ll blink. The GOP shut down government in 1995, albeit to its own political detriment. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and his allies have sworn a “blood oath” to shut down the government, regardless of the consequences. The Republicans may actually succeed in modifying minor aspects of the Affordable Care Act, such as the controversial 1099 reporting requirement for small business.
The most significant threat to the implementation of healthcare reform may be at the state level. Republicans picked up several governorships, and the Affordable Care Act requires the cooperation of states to set up their own insurance exchanges. Hostile governors could seriously impede things.
Mixed results for radical, antichoice senate candidates
As a group, the eight ultra-radical, antichoice Republican Senate candidates had mixed results last night. Three wins, two sure losses and three likely losses that haven’t been definitively called. Voters didn’t seem thrilled about electing senators who oppose a woman’s right to abortion, even in cases of rape and incest.
Two cruised to victory: Rand Paul easily defeated Democrat Jack Conway in Kentucky. Paul is one of the most extreme the of a radical cohort. As Amie Newman reported in RH Reality Check, Paul doesn’t even believe in a woman’s right to abort to save her own life. In Florida, antichoice standard bearer Marco Rubio defeated Independent Charlie Christ.
Another radical antichoicer, Pat Toomey, who favors jailing abortion providers, narrowly edged out Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania.
Two were soundly defeated. Evangelical code-talker Sharron Angle lost to Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), and anti-masturbation crusader Christine O’Donnell lost to Chris Coons in Delaware.
The last three radical antichoice senate candidates were down, but not, out as of this morning. Democrat Sen. Michael Bennett leads Republican Ken Buck by just 15,000 votes out of over 1.5 million ballots cast, according to TPMDC. Planned Parenthood launched an 11th hour offensive against Buck because of his retrograde stances on abortion, sexual assault and other women’s issues, as Joseph Boven reports for the Colorado Independent.