Las Vegas, NV – Today, the Washington Post reported from Las Vegas about how the Koch Brothers, through their shadowy front group Americans for Prosperity, are using canvassers to knock on doors and bash the Affordable Care Act in Nevada to try to help elect Republicans like Congressman Joe Heck.
But it turns out that the Kochs’ right-wing ideological “closing argument” is backfiring with actual voters. Reporter James Hohmann spent hours knocking doors with AFP but “not a single person said that they oppose Obamacare or are negatively impacted by it. In fact, everyone who engaged with the door-knockers said they view the law positively.”
Either AFP’s field operation is a dumpster fire, or the Koch message doesn’t make sense to Nevadans who finally have access to affordable, life-saving health insurance thanks to this law.
Washington Post: The Daily 202: Obamacare premium hikes bring another October surprise, but they may not move many voters
By James Hohmann, October 25
— Reporting on the ground in Nevada reveals that this issue is not as black and white as it was in previous cycles, including 2014. There are a lot more shades of gray in public attitudes now that the law has been implemented and has provided millions of people with tangible benefits.
I went door knocking with field staffers from Americans for Prosperity, the Koch-funded group, last Friday afternoon on the outskirts of Las Vegas. Over two hours, knocking on almost 50 doors, not a single person said that they oppose Obamacare or are negatively impacted by it. In fact, everyone who engaged with the door-knockers said they view the law positively.
Daniel Bulgatz, 19, is a sophomore at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, who also works full-time for AFP. He used the money he earned from his first seven months on the job to buy a Jeep Wrangler Sport — with the doors removed – which he calls Black Betty. On Friday, he had shown up at the field office at 6 a.m. to make telephone calls into Pennsylvania and then started hitting doors once it was late enough in Nevada.
He approached a modest, stucco, two-story house – painted in pastels – and a middle-aged woman with children inside answered. He opened by asking what she thinks of the law. “Obamacare is not Obamacare,” she replied sternly. “It is the health care reform program. And it is actually a good thing. I didn’t qualify for Medicaid but couldn’t afford to pay the $400 a month that an employer offered me health care coverage from. So I used the exchange and got health care for my family at half the price!”
Back in the car, he told his canvassing partner what she’d said. “Even Obama calls it Obamacare,” replied Erinn Mahathey, 24.
A similar scene repeated itself four other times before the end of their walk packet. At another house a few minutes later, Daniel asked another woman what she thought of the law. “I like it,” she said. He told her 240,000 Nevadans have seen their insurance premiums rise by an average of 15 percent and asked if she has friends who have been adversely effected. “My family actually got insurance from Obamacare that we couldn’t afford before,” the woman replied.
AFP has around 700 staffers spread across 35 states, including 21 in Nevada. Despite the drudgery, the group said it has made around 30 million voter contacts nationally since the start of the year. They say they use sophisticated targeting tools to identify voters. The iPads the field reps carry say which doors to knock on – and the names and ages of who lives inside. In this case, Daniel and Erinn were approaching households with people who the data scientists believe are with them on the issues and less likely to vote. But they still kept striking out.
The group has pushed an anti-Obamacare message at doors around Nevada since June. The canvassers are told not to talk about the presidential race. When a gruff, elderly man asked if Daniel was for Trump, he pivoted back to Obamacare without answering. The man replied that he served in the military so he gets care from the V.A. “I don’t have to screw around with Obamacare,” he said.