There is no question that the economy will be the central issue in the upcoming presidential election. But we definitely can’t count out everything else. While Republicans will be grappling with how to make Willard Mitt Romney come off as human, Democrats might have to battle criticism of their healthcare efforts should the Affordable Care Act be deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Obama spent more than a year getting the bill passed, and should it go to waste, the Republican Party will likely have a field day this fall. On the other hand, the acceptance of the bill could pose a boost to Obama’s record on top of a (slowly) improving economy. It could provide enough ammunition for Obama to fire back at right wing rhetoric, then having been successful in foreign policy, economic recovery, and social reform.
As a matter of fact, some believe the failure of this bill to pass would rally the left and reenergize Obama’s base when the time comes to push the lever. This is questionable, seeing as how the majority of people affected would be of lower income and might be in groups known less likely to vote in general, namely young and poor. Polls indicate that a majority of likely US voters are opposed to the bill with usually over 50 percent of them favoring its repeal. In contrast, the number of likely voters in favor of the bill hovers around 40 percent. It may very well be likelier that the passage of Obamacare could rally the right behind its pathetic choice of candidates. That said, it is tough to say how many of the voters are opposed to the bill for wanting it to go further and include a public option. It is true that an individual mandate sounds like an expansion of federal powers; there aren’t many, if any, precedents for the government telling us what to buy. Liberals don’t want Uncle Sam telling us how to live—they simply want affordable healthcare. We don’t have to drag down the quality of existing insurance plans, but there should be an alternative open only to those on low income. But given the political climate, that isn’t likely to happen.
The outcome of each scenario is not quite clear, but there will certainly be consequences, given what is at stake. Whichever way the justices swing, the court itself could very well come into question during the campaign season. The losers of this bill will likely claim that the courts have too much power and that judicial activism has become rampant. Conservatives will declare a moral undermining by a liberal agenda through the upholding of Roe vs. Wade, and what could be the passage of Obamacare. Liberals will claim that the Supreme Court continues to serve an oligarchy by defending vast corporate super PAC contributions, choosing presidents, and upholding a broken health care system. This court decision will not only affect the manner in which we interact with our government, but also how heated the election season will become.