Is healthcare vote the tipping point for liberals regaining control of the House?

Democratic organizers said the House vote unleashed a backlash on a scale they had not seen before, and several Republicans could lose their jobs over it

‘The healthcare vote lit a fire that could engulf the Republican House majority.’ Photograph: Rick Bowmer/AP

As House Republicans reached the vote count needed to pass an unpopular rewrite of a new healthcare law, Democrats chanted derisively. “Na na na na, na na na na,” they sang, confident Republicans would soon regret their support for the bill. “Hey hey hey, goodbye!”

Seven years before that, Democrats on the other side of the aisle had cast contentious votes for a healthcare bill with steep political consequences. Subsequently, in the first elections after Barack Obama took office, they lost their majority in the House in a resounding electoral rebuke.

On Thursday, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, who lost her speakership in 2010 after playing an instrumental role in pushing through the Affordable Care Act, considered the Republican triumph.

“They have this vote tattooed on them,” she said. “This is a scar they carry.”

Republicans argued that the greater political risk would have been to do nothing. Failure to deliver on a signature campaign promise after seven years would have demoralized the base heading into an election cycle in which the party of the president usually loses seats.

[Republicans] have this vote tattooed on them. This is a scar they carry.

Nancy Pelosi

“If we weren’t able to repeal and replace Obamacare, it would have been a bad midterm for us,” said the New York congressman Chris Collins, who voted for the measure, after walking off the floor on Thursday. “I think we will at least hold our own if not pick up seats in the midterm.”

But soon after House Republicans passed their bill, political winds began to shift. Liberals sprang into action, organizing weekend protests outside Republican offices. Groups raising money to unseat House Republicans reported…

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