The Supreme Court wrapped up its hearing on President Obama's healthcare law the Affordable Care Act Wednesday, and though its decision is not expected until late June, political observers are already beginning to speculate how the ruling could affect the 2012 election. Superficially, at least, it appears that a repeal of the healthcare law would hurt Obama and his party, as it is regarded as the signature legislation of the president's first term. To have the Supreme Court label it unconstitutional would only feed into the Republican argument that Obama is pushing "an ever-expanding government" that "is a threat to our economic and religious freedom," as Mary Kate Cary put it.
However, if the Affordable Care Act is struck down, the GOP loses a major rallying point for its 2012 campaign, and some Republicans wonder whether a repeal could actually hurt their party come November. They worry that turnout might be low without the threat of "Obamacare" stirring voters and that a strike down would reinvigorate Obama's liberal base. There's also the problem of what Republicans and Democrats would each propose to do in the Affordable Care Act's place if it is ruled unconstitutional. Scott Galupo explains:
We're going to see a sort of strange alchemy in the opinion trends of low-information independents. When they become aware of the fact that Obamacare contained not just spinach but sweets as well, their reaction will be as follows: "But . . . but, I didn't know that was in there!
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