“You can take to the bank that the decision to uphold Obamacare will energize the Tea Party, evangelicals, and the broader Republican base like we haven’t seen before. Yes, more than 2010,” said David Brody, chief political correspondent for the Christian Broadcasting Network and author of a new book, “The Teavangelicals: The Inside Story of How the Evangelicals and the Tea Party are Taking Back America.”
“The big winner on Thursday June 28, 2012 is President Obama. The big winner on the evening of Tuesday, November 6 very well could be Mitt Romney,” Brody said.
Similarly, conservative Catholics who have been wondering whether the bishops have any pull with their flock could also be galvanized by the high court’s decision.
“If the Supreme Court decision lacks clarity, the Catholic response will be anything but ambiguous: the battle lines between the bishops and the Obama administration are now brighter than ever,” said the Catholic League’s William Donohue.
Added Matt Smith, head of Catholic Advocate: “If faithful Catholics are outraged by this ruling, they have an opportunity in November to affect decisions in Washington, D.C. If Catholics want different policy, change the policy makers!”
In fact, for many faith-based voters, Thursday’s decision could make the campaign more political, and partisan, than it ever was.
While there are a number of other legal challenges to aspects of the health care law — the Supreme Court ruling did not address the specific issue of the contraception mandate, for example — taking control of Congress and the White House seems like a more reliable path to overturning or undermining the health care law than the courts.
“This decision may well energize conservative activists, including religious conservatives, because the ballot box is now the best way to change the health care law,” said John Green, director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron and a leading analyst on how religion affects voting.
“Nearly all of the things conservatives disliked about the law are still in play, including the provision mandates,” Green said. “And a new complaint can be added: the individual mandate is constitutional as a tax — so the law involves a broad-based tax increase. So the decision can be seen as a’good thing’ for conservatives and Republicans.”
It can also be seen as a good thing for social conservatives trying to raise money. Within hours of the ruling, an array of groups were sending out promotional emails making highly questionable but also highly effective claims about “Obamacare.”