The Democrats and AstroTurf activists besieging Republican Senators and Representatives at town halls this month aren’t taking a page out of the Tea Party’s playbook. They are just repeating the same tactics they themselves used in 2009.
As ordinary constituents alarmed by Obamacare challenged Democratic members of Congress who had been sent to sell the bill before reading it, Democrats fired up their activist machine, busing in union members and well-trained organizers.
The man behind the plan was none other than Robert Creamer, who James O’Keefe and Project Veritas busted last year for his role in a plan to incite violence at Trump rallies and create a sense of “anarchy” around the Republican nominee. In 2006-7, Creamer had developed a political blueprint to sell the public on “universal health care,” which he began writing will serving time in federal prison for his role in a check-kiting scheme to keep his progressive organizations afloat.
As Breitbart News — then in its infancy — documented at the time, Creamer’s tactics were on display at the town hall held by his wife, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), who had promised to bring a million Obamacare supporters into the streets. They plotted to block constituents from asking questions, and smuggled signs into the meeting to block television cameras from seeing any disappointed or outraged residents.
(Full disclosure: I ran against Schakowsky in the 2010 congressional election.)
The video above of a Health Care for America Now organizer coaching activists outside Schakowsky’s town hall became the “smoking gun” in the national debate over which side was “AstroTurfing” the town halls.
The left was doing it then, and they are doing it now, using the legitimate protests of the Tea Party movement as cover for their shameless attempts to hijack town hall meetings into anti-Trump rallies. The mainstream media, of course, are more than happy to provide fawning coverage.
But the so-called “Resistance” is likely to fail, for two reasons, both related to the mathematics of the 2018 congressional elections.
First, in 2009, there were still a large number of Democrats representing “swing” House districts. These were conservative Democrats who had learned to survive in Republican areas by adopting moderate views; or members of the class of 2006, who then-Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) cleverly recruited as part of Democrats’ push to win Congress.
Second, Obama’s foolish determination to push Obamacare through Congress without any significant compromises to the opposition, and without any Republican votes, led to a nationwide backlash that pushed Democrats out of power in several states. That meant Republicans were in charge of re-drawing congressional districts after the 2010 Census.
Obama’s home state of Illinois redistricted several Republicans out of their seats. Almost everywhere else, the Democrats were locked out.
So despite the news footage of angry Democrats besieging Republicans at town hall meetings, almost all of those Senators and Representatives are going to be re-elected in 2018.
Republicans only have eight Senate seats up for re-election next year, while Democrats will have to defend 25 — including ten where Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016. Democrats may topple a couple of Republicans in California, which is the center of the “Resistance,” but that is all they will achieve.
The House also looks solid. Yet there is one way Republicans could contrive to lose it.
The 2010 class was elected on the promise to repeal Obamacare. They failed, but told their voters to wait until they had the Senate. After 2014, they told voters to wait until they had the White House. Now they have that — and are still telling voters to wait.
The voters’ patience is not infinite, and if Republicans fail to repeal Obamacare, expect massive stay-aways next November — a Tea Party in reverse.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.