TX-Sen: The Daily Beast, “John Cornyn (R) Promotes Obamacare as He Keeps Trying to Kill It”

I know I touched upon this in a diary last week but I’m happy that Eleanor Clift at The Daily Beast brought this up today:

Texas Senator John Cornyn voted 20 times to do away with Obamacare, but says that the “good news” for the millions of people who lost their jobs, and with them their health insurance, as COVID-19 struck is that they can sign up for Obamacare. He went on to tout the federal subsidies that make the Affordable Care Act affordable.

Republican senators up for reelection are searching for any safe harbor they can find. But their duplicity will be on display when another anti-Obamacare judge, Cory Wilson, nominated for the Fifth Circuit, fields questions in a hearing Wednesday afternoon before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which Cornyn sits on, about calling the ACA “perverse” and “illegitimate,” and declaring outright that he hopes the Supreme Court strikes it down.

There is nothing subtle about Wilson, a former state legislator in Mississippi who has a track record of hyperbolic tweets about President Obama, the Clintons, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Initially nominated last year for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, he is now up for an even more prestigious lifetime appointment as a Circuit Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

At Wilson’s hearing in January for the District judgeship, Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), who is on the Judiciary Committee, read aloud a string of Wilson’s incendiary tweets where he sounds like a partisan hack, elevating anti-Clinton scandals using the hashtag Crooked Hillary, and deriding everything from marriage equality (a pander to liberal groups and an effort to make Republicans look intolerant) to gun safety (he’s for carrying firearms on public property and in houses of worship).

His over-the-top rhetoric is antithetical to what constitutes a judicial temperament, and in Wednesday’s hearing Democrats are expected to zero in on his tweets and writings along with his unabashed opposition to the ACA even in the midst of a pandemic.

In an email to the Daily Beast, Hirono wrote, “During his confirmation hearing for the district court, Cory Wilson demonstrated that he’s a right-wing partisan who would bring his extreme ideology to the federal bench. Now, in the middle of a pandemic, Donald Trump is seeking to elevate Mr. Wilson to the Fifth Circuit precisely because he is an ardent opponent of the Affordable Care Act and is hostile to voting rights. Wilson’s extreme record shows exactly what Republicans’ priorities are during this public health emergency.”

Clift also notes that one of the reasons Cornyn might be changing his tune is because older voters are abandoning Trump and FiveThirtyEight can confirm that:

The most startling shift, though, is among voters age 65 and older. Four years ago, Trump bested Hillary Clinton by 13 points, 55 percent to 42 percent, according to the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, a survey of more than 60,000 voters organized by Harvard University and administered by YouGov. But now Biden narrowly leads Trump 48 percent to 47 percent, based on an average of 48 national polls that included that age group.1 If those figures hold until November, they would represent a seismic shift in the voting behavior of America’s oldest voters.

The last Democratic nominee who won voters 65 and older was Al Gore in 2000, according to national exit poll data. But at the time, that was the trend. Older Americans — those who came of age during the Great Depression and New Deal era, a period in which the Democratic Party was dominant — were disproportionately Democratic-leaning in the late 1990s and early 2000s. And political science has found evidence that party loyalties developed at a young age can persist over the course of a person’s life.

But it’s not just among voters 65 and older where Trump is slipping. He’s also fallen almost as far among voters 55 and older. Trump is essentially tied with Biden among that age group, even after winning these voters by 10 points in 2016, 53 percent to 43 percent, according to the CCES. Trump’s numbers have also fallen with 45- to 64-year-olds, as well as 50- to 64-year-olds (an alternate category employed by many pollsters), but the last Democrat to win 45- to 64-year-olds was Barack Obama in 2008 — albeit barely, 50 percent to 49 percent.

And Texas has been hit hard by the coronavirus and a lot of people have lost their health care. Democrats aren’t letting Cornyn off the hook here:

Democrats pounced, pointing out that Cornyn has long been a leader in the Senate as Republicans tried nearly two dozen times to repeal the act. In emails to reporters and others, the Democrats suggested with his campaign for a fourth term under way, Cornyn was seeking to take credit for the health care safety net.

Not true, Cornyn said Wednesday.

“I mentioned that as an example of what they could apply for and receive health care through – the Affordable Care Act,” told Texas reporters in conference call from his Senate offices in the nation's capital. “That's simply a factual statement.”

A study released Wednesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates 1.6 million Texans have lost employer-provided health coverage since on the onset of coronavirus. The study does not quantify how many have found alternative coverage plans.

Texas is leading a multistate court effort to repeal the act that provides coverage for about 8.3 million Americans. Texas, which has about 1.12 million Obamacare enrollees, was among only a few states that saw an increase in sign-ups for 2020.

The Democrats vying to take on Cornyn in November were quick to get in the digs at Cornyn's remarks. State Sen. Royce West of Dallas, who is in the July 14 Democratic runoff with former Air Force combat helicopter pilot MJ Hegar, credited the incumbent with a backhanded and belated endorsement of Obamacare

“Wow! It is about time John Cornyn decided to get with the program,” West said. “He’s only voted against the ACA 20 times.”

Added Hegar:

“The only reason some of the millions of Texans who are struggling during this pandemic have access to health care coverage at all is because John 'Repeal's Top Salesman' Cornyn failed,” said MJ Hegar, a former Air Force helicopter pilot who is in the July 14 Democratic runoff with state Sen. Royce West of Dallas.

It’s time for Cornyn to go. The Democratic Primary runoff is July 14th. Click below to donate and get involved with the Texas Democrat of your choice and let’s help Biden win Texas so he can strengthen the Affordable Care Act:

Joe Biden

MJ Hegar

Royce West