After the GOP-controlled House of Representative passed the American Health Care Act on Thursday, pundits rushed to assess the political implications for 2018, when all 217 lawmakers who voted for this cruel monstrosity will face voters again. But high-profile Democrats running for this fall’s off-year elections are already wielding the AHCA like a club against Republicans. Phil Murphy, the frontrunner in New Jersey’s governor race, tweeted:
Former Representative Tom Perriello, who’s vying for governor of Virginia, marked the AHCA passage with an ad featuring a subtle metaphor:
Not to be outdone, Perriello’s primary opponent, Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, tweeted that the AHCA was “the most spineless, unprincipled cruelty that I have ever seen come from a legislative body,” and immediately began fundraising off its passage. He also tied the bill to Ed Gillespie, the frontrunner for the GOP gubernatorial nomination:
For his part, Gillespie hardly distanced himself from the legislation:
The Senate may completely overhaul the AHCA in the coming days, and perhaps the revised bill will prove more politically palatable for the GOP. House lawmakers running for re-election can try to weasel out of their votes by saying they anticipated compromising with senators. As it stands, though, this bill is a massive albatross for Republican candidates—especially those who are on the ballot in six months.