After eight long years of Republicans dragging conservatives and the Christian Right along on the #FullRepeal rallying cry, Republicans now have full control of the Federal Government. It wasn’t just the full repeal of Obamacare that they promised. They also dragged us on with the platitude of #DefundPlannedParenthood. This was merely a way to dupe both Libertarians and social conservatives into voting Republican.
With the political winds to our backs and in our favor, we are halfway through the first 100 days of the Trump presidency and the Republican majority with very little to show for either.
Republicans finally unveiled their Obamacare replacement plan with an alleged defunding of Planned Parenthood. There have already been many great economic and policy analyses of the trainwreck that will forever be “Trumpcare,” namely Daniel Horowitz’s outstanding work at Conservative Review (CR).
It suffices to say that “Trumpcare” replaces Obamacare’s mandates and subsidies with tweaked and renamed mandates and subsidies while leaving the core regulations in place. It’s Obamacare 2.0, and President Trump and the Republicans own it now.
Republicans and Team Trump are reassuring conservatives that they are fully repealing Obamacare over promised phases by describing their new plan as something it is not. According to Daniel Horowitz, these are the same style lies the Republican establishment tried to use over the Gang of 8 amnesty.
However, as a pro-life Christian, there is something I find far more egregious. In order to bring the Christian Right and social conservatives on board as cheerleaders for “Trumpcare,” they are promising their faux-replacement plan defunds Planned Parenthood. This is nefarious for one reason: they have never tried to defund Planned Parenthood beyond toothless show votes because of the faux-social conservative groups.
The Christian Right’s Achilles heel is our partisan idolatry for the Republican Party. It is also our desperate desire to achieve whatever we can, in whatever way, towards defunding the abortion industry and abolishing abortion. The Republicans think so little of the Christian Right, merely as a cult following voting bloc. All they have to do is utter certain platitudes and we’ll jump on board big government with the mere future promise to defund Planned Parenthood.
Instead of being honest about their American Healthcare Act, Republicans are hiding behind subterfuge and buying votes. Team Trump is wining and dining conservative lawmakers while Republican leadership and Vice President Mike Pence promise platitudes of pro-life desires if they just support their Obamacare Lite.
Right now, the conservative and Christian Right grassroots and its leaders are holding the line. Nevertheless, the Christian Right has the uncanny ability to accept whatever their Republican idol promises. Our cultural engagement typically ends up with the Christian Right setting aside biblical ethics for a seat at the table, and our leaders shilling for something that is entirely unbiblical.
Our partisan idolatry also creates another Achilles heel. Republicans have to bring up the imaginary binary choice with “but not the Democrats,” or “don’t sacrifice the good for the perfect" - and then watch the Christian Right cave to their political idol.
Where does this binary argument lead? It leads to Republicans advocating for the good, and then compromising with progressives to get the bad (or worse). Moreover, because of the Christian Right’s partisan idolatry, we typically fall in line and become cheerleaders for the bad because we were given a future promise. We haven’t yet figured out that the Republicans have zero intention on following through on their promises.