Morrisey and Trump lie about their support for pre-existing conditions
The facts, as most of the media and fact-checkers like Politifact have pointed out, do not support Morrisey's or Trump's statement. Morrisey is part of a lawsuit brought by 18 Republican attorney generals that argues that Obamacare should be thrown out:
In 2012, the Supreme Court upheld the law’s individual mandate to purchase health insurance by saying it was enforced by a tax penalty. But in 2017, Congress repealed the mechanism to enforce the individual mandate through the tax code.
The lawsuit contends that -- with the tax penalty now gone -- the individual mandate is no longer constitutional and, as a result, the law should be either largely or entirely thrown out.
Politifact asked the obvious question on consequences:
If granted, would the lawsuit end the pre-existing condition protections under the ACA?
Yes, say health policy specialists.
"There would be much more damage beyond the issue of people with health problems being denied coverage, but that would in fact be one outcome," said Linda Blumberg, a health policy analyst at the Urban Institute.
If Morrisey supports protecting pre-existing conditions, why did he sign-on to the lawsuit without there being a back-up in place? To say that he supports their protection is disingenuous at best, and more-likely, a lie. As for Trump, Politico reported yesterday:
Trump’s administration is currently arguing in court that ObamaCare’s pre-existing condition protections should be struck down, a point Democrats were quick to make in response.
“Did he drop his lawsuit to eliminate protections for those with pre-existing conditions and just not tell anybody?” tweeted Matt House, a spokesman for Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.).
Trump also supported ObamaCare repeal bills in the House and Senate last year that would allow states to get waivers to allow insurers to spike premiums for people with pre-existing conditions.
It is no wonder that Manchin and the Democrats are putting more and more emphasis on health care.
I have written about this previously. (See here.) Simply put, Morrisey backed out of the previously-scheduled debates. Yet, he continues to tell his Twitter followers that it was Manchin who refused to debate:
I guess Morrisey can tell his base anything and they'll believe it.
Relevance? Morrisey features Joe and Hillary in a ten-year-old photo
The Morrisey campaign must be running out of Joe and Hillary pictures -- Manchin ran for re-election as governor in 2008.
Low information voters and the most recent poll
In November of 2016, the Washington Post published an article by two social scientists, Richard Fording and Sanford Schram, who had researched the role of the "low information voter" in the 2016 presidential election. They concluded:
People have many good reasons for being mad about how the established political leadership has failed them, whether it is on trade deals, jobs, inequality, health care or other issues. Trump appeals to many of the disaffected. Nonetheless, a core part of his base is made up of low-information voters who appear more susceptible to Trump’s appeals based on race and religion and less prepared to challenge his misstatements and untruths.
A look at Morrisey's campaign would suggest that the low information voter is also part of his base. In addition to his misrepresentation on debates and pre-existing conditions, his campaign is a mostly negative one; attacks on Hillary, Obama, "Lying Joe" Manchin, and assorted Democratic leaders are paired with a near constant reminder of how much Trump supports him. Add in negative references to Representative Maxine Waters and his support for the undefined "West Virginia values" and we end up with a campaign that's low on substance but high on scapegoats for those with grievances against a changing world.* Their choice of media, like Fox News and local Sinclair Broadcasting stations, do little questioning and only reinforce that worldview. Finally, the largest newspaper chain in the state, Ogden, acts as cheerleader for his campaign by publishing pro-Morrisey editorials, news, and his op-eds while never criticizing him or his campaign. (See, for example, Morrisey's unwilling to debate which Ogden framed as the debate site having "a lack of time" to prepare.)
The most recent poll I could find (released yesterday) has Manchin with a 5 point lead:
Meanwhile, Vox Populi's West Virginia survey showed incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin (D) leading state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) by 45 percent to 40 percent, outside the poll's 3.5 points margin of error.
Among undecided voters 7 percent were leaning towards Manchin, while 8 percent were leaning towards Morrisey.
*In contrast, while Manchin's commercials tend to be negative, his Twitter feed and his campaign site emphasize the positive.