Why are Republicans suddenly having such a hard time agreeing about their No. 1 priority? They’ve run into two obstacles: reality and public opinion.

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The campaign to let 20 million Americans keep their health insurance is working.

It still has a long way to go, and it’s not guaranteed to succeed. But the progress of the last couple months is remarkable.

Thanks in part to a surge of activism — town hall meetings, online postings, calls to Congress — the politics of Obamacare have flipped. Many Americans have come to realize that the care part of the law matters much more than the Obama part. As a result, the Republicans no longer have a clear path to repeal.

President Donald Trump may pretend otherwise. Privately, though, he and his aides have begun to realize the mess they have made by promising the impossible.

On Monday, Trump himself lamented that health care was “complicated.” Meanwhile, congressional Republicans have their own troubles. As of now, they don’t have the votes to pass a plan.

Why are Republicans suddenly having such a hard time agreeing about their No. 1 priority? They’ve run into two obstacles: reality and public opinion.

Let’s start with reality. Republican leaders are now paying the price for their dishonest approach to fighting Obamacare.

To be clear, there are honest conservative attacks to make on Obamacare. Republicans could have said that Americans who can’t afford health insurance aren’t entitled to it, just as people are not entitled to own a home. Or Republicans could have tried to alter the law — say, with less generous insurance plans.

But Republican leaders chose the easy political route instead. They blamed Obamacare (sometimes fairly, mostly not) for almost every health care problem.

There is no free lunch on health care. Your health “costs” pay for my health “benefits,” and vice versa. If Trump promises a less expensive system, he is also promising to eliminate some care.

Now that they’re running the government, free-lunchism has consequences. Their promise to scrap taxes on the wealthy, for example, leaves them without money to cover people. That’s why the independent Congressional Budget Office keeps concluding that the various Obamacare replacement plans would deprive millions of people of insurance.

More Americans have begun to understand these realities, and everyone engaged in the grass-roots campaign to protect health insurance deserves to take pride in the change. People have seen YouTube clips of town hall meetings at which members of Congress have no good answers. Some people are also starting to see through Trump’s wait-till-next-month timetable.

Most Americans still have complaints about Obamacare. So do I. (Some subsidies are too small, as are the penalties for not signing up.) But they increasingly realize that no serious alternative exists — still. Getting rid of Obamacare means taking away health insurance, and medical care, from millions of people.

No wonder the polls have flipped, and more than half the country now supports the law.

Aficionados of irony will appreciate the fundamental source of Republicans’ struggles. In drafting his health care plan, Barack Obama chose a moderate, market-based approach. It was to the right of Bill Clinton’s and Richard Nixon’s plans and way to the right of Harry Truman’s — and yet Republicans still wouldn’t support it.

Many liberals regret that decision. Obama, for his part, believes that a more left-wing version would not have passed. Either way, the version that did pass doesn’t leave Republicans much room to maneuver.