A politically infected court could produce a politically unexpected result that would confound the conventional punditry, strengthening him and weakening Romney and the Republicans.
First, voters who hate Obama and Obamacare — and sadly in our riven politics, hate is the right word — were never going to vote for him anyway.
If that’s true, then he’s already lost the election – the ACA polls with a 49% disapproval. While that’s no guarantee that he’d never convince them that it was a good law, it shows that hating ObamaCare does not neccesarily mean a person could never and would never vote for him.
Second, Americans in the grey zone of doubt about health reform, confused by the fog of lies about the bill, would move on and vote, as they mostly would anyway, on a basis of other issues like the economy, the manifest hollowness of Mitt Romney, the profound unfairness of his priorities, and the job-destroying nature of his record and his economic plan.
This is mostly true, but doesn’t mean that the ACA being struck down is good news for Obama – it just means that it might not hurt him that much.
Third, the Democratic base and women would rally to Obama because they would understand more plainly than ever the threat of a Republican president packing the Supreme Court with more injustices hostile to reproductive rights, to equality for minorities and gay Americans, and to essential protections for the environment and workers on the job.
I don’t think the ACA has really been sold as related to these issues.
Fourth, the aftermath would also engage those who would lose out if the law is swept away, especially young people no longer covered by their parents’ insurance. This is a critical voting bloc for Obama — and what happens to them and other losers from an adverse court decision points to a final political consequence which would squeeze the GOP.
This might be true – IF the entire law is struck down, there are people that have already benefited from the bill that will be motivated by their loss. But that’s a big if – my personal guess is that the individual mandate will be struck down, but the other (more popular) aspects of the bill will remain.
The truth is, if any part of the bill gets struck down, it’s bad for Obama, at least in the short term – for the simple reason that it’s a loss, and America doesn’t like losers. We like to support the winning team, so if the Obama team loses even part of their signature achievement, that’s a loss.
It’s not a game-ender for Team Obama – just a bad set of downs.