Grassroots groups anticipate midterm backlash against Democrats if health care is pushed through Congress despite Brown victory

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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If Republican Scott Brown wins the Massachusetts special election today and Democrats prevent him from being able to vote on the health care bill, backlash for Democrats can be expected at the polls in November, according to grassroots groups.

“The worst mistake Democrats could make would be to naively assume they can force a flawed health-care reform bill,” Tea Party Express communications director Levi Russell told The Daily Caller.

“I think the backlash of this would be an energizing force among regular Americans who are already frustrated by the secretive, ego-maniacal leadership in Washington,” he said.

If Brown beats Democrat Martha Coakley in today’s special election and Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin stalls certifying the election until after Obama’s health-care bill passes, observers on the right say Democrats could face long-term consequences.

Republicans in Washington fear that Galvin, a Democrat, will give local election officials 10 days after the election to count absentee ballots and an additional five days to file the results if Brown is elected.

Russell said if that’s the case — and its apparent that Democrats are “playing games” with Brown’s swearing-in — it would result in a “tidal wave of energy” to vote out Democrats in November.

He said grassroots groups, including the Tea Party Express, are making preparations to gather in Washington on April 15 for another Tea Party rally.

“If the Democrat machine has pushed through a health-care bill, I can only imagine that the response and attendance will be enormous,” he said.

Former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey echoed those sentiments. He said if such a scenario occurred, grassroots activists from across the country would likely call upon their Democratic officeholders in fury.

“This isn’t just an outrage in Massachusetts, it’s an outrage across the country,” he said of the health care debate going on nationwide.

Armey, however, said he thinks Democrats would ultimately certify Brown’s election “as quickly as possible” because officeholders in tough districts will be wary of alienating voters.

If Brown is elected, he said, Democrats would likely have to try to get the Senate’s version of the health care bill passed in the House.

“If they have to go that way, they’re going to have a problem,” Armey said, specifically pointing out anti-abortion Democrats. The Senate bill, unlike the version passed by the House, does not restrict funding for abortions.

Dr. Larry J. Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, said that in the case Brown wins and Democrats “appear contemptuous of the most recent gauge of public opinion,” Democrats could face brutal consequences heading into November’s midterm elections.

“While Republicans would no doubt prefer to kill the health-care legislation, they’ll be almost as happy if Democrats play tone-deaf and act arrogantly in the wake of the Massachusetts vote,” he said.

“It will look to the swing independents like a dirty trick if the Democrats delay Brown’s swearing in long enough so that they can pass this controversial health-care bill,” he added.

Publicly, the Republican leadership has been mum about their reaction to such any such plan to pass legislation before Brown can be seated, if he’s elected. Don Stewart, spokesman for Republican Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, called it “a pretty big if” for Brown to win, yet be denied a chance to vote for the health-care bill.

Asked about the potential scenario in an interview on Fox News Sunday last weekend, McConnell said he’d wait to see the outcome of today’s election, though said “it’s an interesting academic question.” The senator added that he’s “sure all the lawyers will be looking at this” and “the winner, whoever it is, should be sworn in promptly.”