More on the Consequences of a Supreme Court Decision in the Obamacare Case

In my last post, I wrote about the consequences if Obamacare loses in the Supreme Court in King v. Burwell.  My basic point is that a Supreme Court decision holding that federal exchanges cannot receive subsidies will create an enormous fight between President Obama and the Republican Congress. Bill Levin, who recently wrote a post on the cert grant at this site, now has a post at Powerline addressing the same issue. I strongly recommend his post.

Bill is more optimistic than I am about the effects of such a Supreme Court decision. One of his main arguments is that the public understands that the Democrats are responsible for Obamacare and that any problems it has will be seen as the fault of the Democrats. Perhaps, but this would have to be true even though the five Republican justices decide that the subsidies are illegal over the votes of the four Democratic justices.

Ultimately, the biggest advantage that the Democrats have is that the media is on their side. They will portray the dispute as having been caused by the five Republican justices and will argue that the Republicans can easily fix the problem by simply returning to the status quo. It may be that the Republicans can prevail, but they will have to do so over the heads of the media.

It is true that the media is less protective of Obama these days, since he is both a lame duck and relatively unpopular. But that does not mean they will not protect progressive legislation and accomplishments, which they still strongly support. My guess is that the media is willing to accept that Obama is not a great politician, but they are not willing to question that his policies are correct.

It is an interesting question how much benefit the Democrats derive from the biased media. I have seen estimates that claim that the Democrats would fall from 50 percent support to 30 percent support without the support of the media. My guess is that if the media supported the Republicans as much as they currently support the Democrats, the Republicans would receive about 65 percent of the vote. To compete, the Democrats would have to become far more conservative.