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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

The Republican Governors Association released a new ad on Monday slamming South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Vincent Sheheen (D) for supporting the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion — but failing to tell the whole story about the law.

The 30-second television ad, titled “Vincent Sheheen: Even More Obamacare,” attacks Sheheen for supporting health care reform.

“Remember this guy, Sheheen? Well first, Sheheen supported much of Obamacare. But then he refused to support the lawsuit to stop it,” the ad’s narrator says. “Now, Vincent Sheheen wants to use Obamacare for a $2 billion expansion of Medicaid in South Carolina.”

The ad, which is backed by a $200,000 buy, according to The Washington Post, presents an odd case for opposing Sheheen.

In addition to covering an estimated 340,000 South Carolinians, Medicaid expansion would give South Carolina’s economy a needed boost. According to a 2012 study from the South Carolina Hospital Association, opting into the ACA’s Medicaid expansion would result in an $11.2 billion increase in federal funding for the state between 2014 and 2020.

“These increased federal dollars, which signify an injection of new procurement activity to the state that would not exist otherwise, represent an unambiguous benefit to South Carolina’s economy,” the authors write.

By 2020, the study estimates that the total annual economic impact of the increased federal funding would total “approximately $3.3 billion in economic output, $1.5 billion in labor income, and support nearly 44,000 new jobs for South Carolinians.”

Still, Governor Nikki Haley (R) has stringently opposed Medicaid expansion, as part of her promise to “continue to fight Obamacare every step of the way.” Some of Haley’s colleagues feel differently, however. Eight Republican governors — including New Jersey’s Chris Christie, the current chairman of the organization that made the ad attacking Sheheen — accepted federal funding to expand Medicaid in their own states.

The issue is also still unsettled within South Carolina. In a twist on neighboring North Carolina’s “Moral Monday” protest movement, South Carolina health care advocates are organizing “Truthful Tuesday” rallies in an effort to pressure the state legislature to reconsider its decision to reject the federal funding. South Carolinians have been receptive to Medicaid expansion in the past; a May, 2013 survey found that 65 percent support Medicaid expansion.

South Carolina is the third state in which the RGA has aired ads in 2014, following Wisconsin and Arkansas. Haley is the favorite in her re-election campaign against Sheheen, whom she defeated by just 4 percent in the 2010 gubernatorial election. Given Haley’s low approval ratings and generally rocky tenure, however, Democrats are holding out hope for an upset victory.

Many Democrats are getting nervous about the upcoming presidential election. Ominous, extensively reported articles by two of the best in the business—the New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin and The Atlantic's Barton Gellman—outline Boss Trump's plot to keep control of the White House in 2021 no matter how the American people vote.
Trump is hardly making a secret of it. He's pointedly refused to commit to "a peaceful transfer of power."

"Well, we're going to have to see what happens," is how he answered the question. He added that after we "get rid of the ballots"—presumably mail-in ballots he's been whining about for weeks--"there won't be a transfer, frankly. There'll be a continuation."

Of course, Trump himself has always voted by mail, but then brazen hypocrisy is his standard operating mode. If you haven't noticed, he also lies a lot. Without prevaricating, boasting, and bitching, he'd be mute. And even then, he'd still have Twitter. He recently tweeted that the winner "may NEVER BE ACCURATELY DETERMINED" because mail-in ballots make it a "RIGGED ELECTION in waiting."
Gellman gets this part exactly right in The Atlantic: "Let us not hedge about one thing. Donald Trump may win or lose, but he will never concede. Not under any circumstance. Not during the Interregnum and not afterward. If compelled in the end to vacate his office, Trump will insist from exile, as long as he draws breath, that the contest was rigged.
"Trump's invincible commitment to this stance will be the most important fact about the coming Interregnum. It will deform the proceedings from beginning to end. We have not experienced anything like it before."
No, we haven't. However, it's important to remember that Trump makes threats and promises almost daily that never happen. Remember that gigantic border wall Mexico was going to pay for? Trump has built exactly five miles of the fool thing, leaving roughly two thousand to go.
His brilliant cheaper, better health care plan? Non-existent.
On Labor Day, Boss Trump boasted of his unparalleled success in strong-arming Japan into building new auto-manufacturing plants. "They're being built in Ohio, they're being built in South Carolina, North Carolina, they're being built all over and expanded at a level that we've never seen before."
Not a word of that is true. Two new plants, one German, another Swedish have opened in South Carolina, but construction began before Trump took office. Auto industry investment during Barack Obama's second term far exceeded Trump's. His version is sheer make-believe.
But back to the GOP scheme to steal the election.
First, it's clear that even Trump understands that he has virtually no chance of winning the national popular vote. He's been polling in the low 40s, with no sign of change. To have any chance of prevailing in the Electoral College, he's got to do the electoral equivalent of drawing to an inside straight all over again—winning a half-dozen so-called battleground states where he defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016 by the narrowest of margins.
At this writing, that looks highly unlikely. The latest polling in must-win Pennsylvania, for example, shows Trump trailing Joe Biden by nine points. That's a landslide. Trump's down ten in Wisconsin, eight in Michigan. And so on.
So spare me the screeching emails in ALL CAPS, OK? Polls were actually quite accurate in 2016. Trump narrowly defeated the odds. It can happen. But he's in far worse shape this time. Furthermore, early voting turnout is very high, with Democrats outnumbering Republicans two to one.
Hence, The Atlantic reports, "Trump's state and national legal teams are already laying the groundwork for post-election maneuvers that would circumvent the results of the vote count in battleground states."
The plan is clear. Because more Democrats than Republicans are choosing mail-in voting during the COVID pandemic, Trump hopes to prevent those ballots from being counted. Assuming he'll have a narrow "swing state" lead on election night, he'll declare victory and start filing lawsuits. "The red mirage," some Democrats call it.
"As a result," Toobin writes, "the aftermath of the 2020 election has the potential to make 2000 look like a mere skirmish." With Trump in the White House urging armed militias to take to the street.
Mail-in votes take a long time to count. Things could definitely get crazy.
True, but filing a lawsuit to halt a Florida recount was one thing. Filing suits against a half dozen states to prevent votes from being counted at all is quite another. Public reaction would be strong. Also, winning such lawsuits requires serious evidence of fraud. Trumpian bluster ain't evidence.
The Atlantic reports that GOP-controlled state legislatures are thinking about sending Trumpist delegations to the Electoral College regardless of the popular vote winner—theoretically constitutional but currently illegal.
Fat chance. If that's the best they've got, they've got nothing.
Anyway, here's the answer: Vote early, and in person*.

[Editor's note: In some states, receiving an absentee ballot means that a voter can no longer vote in person* or may have to surrender the absentee ballot, including the envelope in which it arrived, at their polling place. Please check with your local election authorities.]