A handful of moderate House Republicans in tight reelection contests have done something that most Republicans would consider unthinkable — renounce the GOP catechism on repealing Obamacare as they fight for their political lives. They say they oppose the health law but are reluctant to tear it up completely.
“Unless there is a bipartisan solution to fix the law, I don’t think we should be taking symbolic votes,” to repeal it, said Rep. Bob Dold of Illinois, who is casting himself as a bipartisan voice in Congress as he fights to hang on to one of the most competitive districts in the country.
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The break with party leaders in the deeply contentious health care fight reflects a larger change on the campaign trail throughout the country: For the first time since Obamacare’s passage six years ago, and after House Republicans have taken over 60 votes to try to repeal it, the crusade appears to be losing its fire as a political rallying cry, taking a back seat to worries over national security and the economy.
Donald Trump spends far more time bashing Mexicans, Muslims and “job-killing” free trade than talking about repealing the Affordable Care Act.
The Republican Senate candidates — with the exception of Sen. John McCain in Arizona — haven’t made the health law an overarching theme this year, even though many of them won their last race in 2010 railing against the law that was only a few months old at the time.
Most surprising, Dold was one of three House Republicans — along with Reps. John Katko of New York and Bruce Poliquin of Maine — to openly flout GOP orthodoxy by voting against the law’s repeal in January 2015. …