November 6 2013
If ObamaCare remains in place, will it function as a massive get-out-the vote effort for Democrats?
Call me naïve, but I find it hard to buy the notion that ObamaCare was cynically designed primarily as a voter registration mechanism for Democrats, which seems to be the view of Greg Phillips, founder of Voters Trust, a voting integrity group. But that doesn’t mean ObamaCare won't lend itself to voter recruitment on the part of big government advocates.
Phillips and Catherine Engelbrecht of True The Vote, another election integrity group, have combed through a plan by Demos, a left-wing advocacy organization supported by the billionaire George Soros. They tell Breitbart's Matthew Boyle that the Demos plan does, in fact, see ObamaCare as a voting recruitment tool that can vastly expand the Democratic base. Interestingly, Breitbart’s link to the Demos study—“Building a Healthy Democracy: Registering 68 Million People to Vote through Health Benefit Exchanges"—no longer works. Did Demos demons disable it? Demos’ Lisa Danetz is described as an author of the report.
Breitbart’s Boyle notes:
Danetz lays out how 17 states and Washington, D.C., have elected to run their own exchanges, seven states have opted for so-called “partnership exchanges,” and 26 states have decided to become a part of the federal exchange. “Under the NVRA, Health Benefit Exchanges are entities that administer public assistance, and, as such, are required to incorporate voter registration services into operation of Insurance Affordability Programs,” she writes. Throughout the rest of the report, Danetz lays out the nuts and bolts of how the left plans to use Obamacare as a voter registration tool.
Phillips, the founder of election integrity group Voters Trust and an expert in analyzing big data, told Breitbart News in an in-person interview Wednesday that the left also attempted this in the early years of the Clinton administration.
The Obama administration, according to the Breitbart article, treats a visit to the website as a physical visit—just the same as a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles, where new voters can register without much effort. Leaving aside for the moment that it may actually be easier to go to the Motor Vehicle Department than Healthcare.gov just now, the implication is clear: if the website is ever fixed, it could be a tool for harvesting new voters.
Many of these new voters, if the Phillips-Engelbrecht thesis is right, will be people who feel that they have much to gain from the expansion of government. Since many ObamaCare navigators are from left-wing organizations, it is reasonable to assume that, if asked, they could provide potential new voters with a nudge in the Democratic direction. Potentially, such an easy mechanism for signing up voters who likely wouldn't bother on their own would create a larger pool of so-called low-information voters.
As I said, I find it hard to believe that the architects and advocates of ObamaCare did not make reform of health care their primary goal. But that doesn’t mean that the system can’t also be used to give big government advocates an unfair advantage to expand their base with a captive audience of ObamaCare enrollees. I don't want to be an alarmist, but, if the Demos plan is described correctly and if it works, it could create a permanent majority of people who (erroneously) believe that the expansion of government is to their advantage.
Engelbrecht said people should listen carefully to what the left is saying, because they have publicly discussed this aspect of the Obamacare website. Danetz’s Demos report earlier this year, Engelbrecht notes, is hardly the only place the left has talked openly about this. Liberals have made similar suggestions on the pages of Mother Jones magazine and on the liberal Daily Kos website, both in late-September pieces. Talking Points Memo, another left-wing media outlet, has covered it as well.
The GOP would be at a decided disadvantage with ObamaCare voters. It would be difficult to persuade voters who are affraid of losing subsidies that what we need is smaller government. If the Breitbart article is accurate, ObamaCare could be the basis of a permanent Democratic majority.