The 2008 Democrats divided along racial, ethnic, and class lines, but they agreed on policy. They all wanted to raise taxes on high-earners and not raise taxes on anybody else. They wanted something like what turned into Obamacare, and the only difference was Obama’s demagogic and temporary opposition to the health insurance purchase mandate.
Today, the Republican consensus has utterly collapsed when it comes to policy. Trump’s instincts, to the extent they can be discerned from his behavior, are left-corporatist. Left entirely to his own devices, his first-choice among health insurance appears to be single-payer.
When Cruz is asked about what would happen to the people who are dependent of the Obamacare’s subsidies and Medicaid expansion for their health insurance, he says some things about interstate purchase of health insurance, and health savings accounts, but let me translate what Cruz is saying: if you are getting your health care through Obamacare, you aren’t voting for me anyway, so no soup for you.
Rubio has tried to address the concerns of wage-earners with his proposals for wage subsidies and using tax credits for health care, but he made a huge tactical mistake after the 2012 election. He sided with the Washington establishment on the one issue that most bitterly divides the Republican Party’s elites from its populists. Rubio isn’t the guy who wants a larger tax credit for middle-class parents. He is the guy who wanted upfront amnesty and vastly expanded guest worker programs.