The shocking decision by the Supreme Court that upholds the constitutionality of the individual mandate and the rest of Obamacare may be seen in hindsight as a primary reason for the re-election of Barack Obama for a second term.
There is little doubt that the decision will energize the right of the Republican Party. And in a bi-election like 2010, that would be critical in contributing to overwhelming victory.
The turnout in 2010 was made up mostly of partisans from both sides. But in a national election like 2012, twice as many people end up voting, including far more independent-minded citizens as well as those who don’t pay any attention to politics. An argument can be advanced that the victory in the Supreme Court by the Obama administration can be seen as a huge boost to his re-election chances.
Here are a few reasons why:
1. Everyone likes a winner. The unexpected triumph by the president in the Supreme Court will energize his supporters and contribute to an aura of Obama as a winner. Even a boost of 2-3% in swing states as a result of this could make the difference between victory and defeat.
2. Despite the unpopularity of the individual mandate, certain elements of Obamacare that were upheld are very popular. Forcing insurance companies to accept those with pre-existing conditions, the expansion of Medicaid, insurance subsidies for most Americans, and reducing out of pocket costs for drugs by seniors all enjoyed a majority of support in polls. People also like the idea of getting goodies from the federal government. You can bet that the Obama campaign will hit these points hard in the coming months, reminding voters who is responsible for providing them with such largess.
3. There may be some backlash against Republicans in continuing their agitation for repeal of Obamacare. There are many voters who might believe that now that the Supreme Court has spoken, we should move on from this debate and that Republican advocacy for repeal could be seen as more partisan politics than standing on principle.
4. Finally, the issue may turn out to be a winner for Obama given Romney’s creation of a similar program while governor of Massachusetts and his previous support for an individual mandate. The Obama campaign hasn’t even begun to explore Romney’s flip flopping on the issue, and even if SCOTUS had ruled differently, this potentially fertile line of attack would have become one of the centerpieces of the Obama campaign’s critique of their opponent.