Metropolitik: Will Obamacare verdict sway the Nov. elections?

Do the nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court have too much power in the political system? Let us know at letters@metro.us

For complaints, suggestions and digital attaboys, e-mail us at brayden.simms@metro.us.

Could the Supreme Court, in deciding the fate of the Obama administration’s health care reform law this summer, also be deciding the next president of the United States this fall? The answer may depend on which way the high justices lean.

As anyone who’s been paying even minimal attention knows, Obamacare has been hugely polarizing. Conservative politicians, who originally conceived of the individual mandate — the economic foundation of the reform law — have since reversed course, pointing to the policy as evidence of Obama’s big-government overreach. At the same time, many Democrat pols, including Obama, have seized on the mandate as a bipartisan solution (one that has become decidedly partisan) despite originally opposing it in favor of more progressive approaches.

Yet despite this ideological flip-flop, most Americans have remained consistent in their opinions. According to the most recent New York Times-CBS poll, 51 percent oppose Obamacare, with 47 percent supporting. Those numbers have held more or less steady over the past three years: Opposition has hovered in the 48 percent to 52 percent range, while support has maintained at just below 50 percent.

It seems that Americans have made up their minds, largely along party lines:?

Republicans oppose the law, Democrats support it. And nothing the Supreme Court says is going to change that.

However, the decision could have the unintended effect of energizing — or, conversely, de-energizing — the parties’ respective bases. If the judges rule in favor of the law, for instance, it could be the extra oomph Republicans need to convince the right-wing of rampant federal tyranny, herding voters into polls this November. If the judges find the law unconstitutional, on the other hand, that may take the wind out of conservative sails.

One thing is certain: Whichever way the court rules, we’ll be living with this decision long past November.

Follow Brayden Simms on Twitter @metropolitik


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