Sid Salter: Opposition to Medicaid expansion won’t hurt GOP

The argument has long been proffered that opposition to Medicaid expansion is a Mississippi political game changer, one that could swing Mississippi from Republican dominance in state government — Governor’s Mansion, House and Senate control — and return the state’s Democrats to power.

Despite the political volatility of the Medicaid issue in the poorest state in the union, that argument remains wishful Democratic Party thinking. Medicaid expansion isn’t a strong enough issue to offset other fundamental public policy divides over taxation and social issues that the current majority of Mississippians have simply refused to ignore.

For the foreseeable future, Republicans still have the numbers on their side in Mississippi politics and voter behavior — i.e., turnout and engagement — strengthens their already winning hand.

But on Capitol Hill and in national politics, Republicans are increasingly running out of fences to straddle on issues that could decide Republican primary contests and the outcome of presidential elections.

The Affordable Care Act or Obamacare remains a key issue. There’s not much stretch in Democratic 2nd District U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson’s support of the public health care law and for expansion of Medicaid in Mississippi. It’s an issue that has the support of the majority of his constituents and his party.

Clarion Ledger
9/14/13