Political Insider

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A first move to dump Obamacare? Let's talk about flag-burning

At 6:53 a.m. today, the transition machine of Donald Trump announced that U.S. Rep. Tom Price of Roswell would be the president-elect’s choice for secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

This is the Trump administration’s first concrete move to fulfill the candidate’s promise of dumping the Affordable Care Act, perhaps the most volatile domestic aspect of the New York businessman’s victory. For it could deprive millions of a benefit, i.e. health care insurance, that is now in hand.

Within two minutes of his announcement, at 6:55 a.m., the president-elect decided we really ought to be talking about something else:

Never mind that flag-burning isn’t much of an issue, and has been litigated before the U.S. Supreme Court, which decided it was protected by the First Amendment.

“There is much work to be done to ensure we have a health care system that works for patients, families, and doctors; that leads the world in the cure and prevention of illness; and that is based on sensible rules to protect the well-being of the country while embracing its innovative spirit.”

Nowhere in Price’s statement do the words “Obamacare” or “repeal” or “replace” appear.

To be sure, this is a matter of language, not intent. A quick  assessment of the Price nomination at Vox.com concludes with these paragraphs:

The question right now isn’t whether Republicans have plans to repeal Obamacare. It’s which parts of which plans they’ll pick — and how quickly they’ll coalesce around one option.


But in choosing Price, Trump is signaling that he is serious about dismantling Obamacare. He has found one of the law’s most ardent, knowledgeable, and prepared opponents, and put him in charge of the effort.


President-elect Donald Trump's evidence-less claim of "millions" of illegal voters drew this short-and-sweet response from Secretary of State Brian Kemp's office: "Not in Georgia."

Trump's false statements -- a perpetuation of debunked Internet conspiracies -- has put Kemp and other Republican elections supervisors in a bind, as they wrestle over how to respond to a victorious candidate who continues to instill doubts about the integrity of the election system.


Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is among the Democrats worried that Donald Trump's near-sweep of the Rust Belt will shift the party's attention from Georgia and other potential swing states.

Hizzoner told Politico that a renewed focus on rural whites could leave states like Georgia and Arizona with burgeoning minority populations left in the lurch. Here's a passage:

Democrats in Arizona and Georgia are quick to note that the party is as close as it’s ever been to being competitive at the presidential level in those states. On the strength of a surge in Latino voters, Clinton lost Arizona — where the GOP nominee has won in 16 of the past 17 elections — by less than 4 percentage points. In Georgia, Clinton lost by just 5 points as African-American voters turned out for Clinton.


Those results came despite minimal national investment in those two states. The Clinton campaign and its supportive super PAC ended up pumping ad money into both toward the end of the race — and Clinton herself visited Arizona once — but the vast majority of her team’s time and resources went toward core swing states.


“What was going on in Georgia is real. It was the most competitive presidential election in Georgia since 1992, and we did it with minimal resources,” said Reed. “We’re going to continue to do our work here and grind it out, but for the national Democratic Party it’s really important for us — we need to win Southern states going forward. And it sends a message even to the Rust Belt and Midwestern communities [that] when you bring along Southern states, it helps us maintain our status as a national party."


A fire near Gainesville destroyed the home of Philip Wilheit, a member of the Board of Regents and longtime close ally of Gov. Nathan Deal.

We're told the house was a 10,000-square-foot residence finished less than a year ago, and the closest fire hydrant was at least a half-mile from the driveway. The Gainesville Times has an account of the fire here.

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.