The Health Care Grassroots Game

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I'm seeing a lot of liberals urging their folks to call their congressmen and create pressure for a "yes" vote on the Senate bill.  That's going to be an uphill slog, because of simple math.  The progressives are never, ever, going to vote for a Republican.  So if they're demotivated in November, you lose one vote.  But your moderate constituents might well vote for a Republican. If they desert you for the GOP, that increases his vote tally as well as decreasing yours.  Effectively, a progressive desertion costs you one vote, while a moderate desertion may cost you two.

Of course, that calculus may change if progressives are making all the noise while conservatives are still celebrating.  If they want to make sure this victory means what they think it means, they'd probably better stop popping champagne corks and start dialing their congressmen.

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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