Senators John McCain and Lisa Murkowski promised, on multiple occasions, to repeal Obamacare. Indeed, Republicans from Congressional districts all across the country promised to repeal Obamacare.
On the strength of such promises voters in 2010 gave Republicans control of the House. Four years later, believing the same promise, voters gave Republicans control of the Senate.
Congress proceeded to pass multiple Obamacare repeal bills and send them to President Obama, who vetoed them as expected.
“We need the White House,” said Republicans. Voters answered that call and gave them a Republican president in the form of Donald Trump, who sits with pen in hand ready to sign just about any bill that repeals Obamacare.
That’s when Republicans like McCain and Murkowski outed themselves as the virtue-signaling quislings that they actually are. That’s when all of America learned for certain that Republicans have no idea what to do with power once they actually have it.
Now that Republicans led by Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have failed three times to repeal Obamacare, the biggest mistake they could make is to assume that President Trump will just drop the subject.
If we’ve learned nothing about Donald Trump, we have learned that he doesn’t easily let go of things.
Obamacare is imploding and Trump knows it. He campaigned and won on the promise to do away with it. Unlike nearly every other living politician – principally because Donald Trump isn’t really a politician — he is intent on keeping his promise. And because Obamacare is not sustainable in its present form, Donald Trump knows that the longer into his watch it continues to hang around, the more he will come to be blamed for not dealing with it.
Which means two things.
First, if he has to Trump will look to make a deal on Obamacare with Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Shumer and other Congressional Democrats. It’s worth remembering that most presidential candidates write books about their hard-scrabble upbringing and their resulting strong, heartfelt personal empathy for common working folks, etc., etc. Few people read the books.
Donald Trump’s book, on the other hand, is a best-seller. And it’s about making deals. Making deals is what Donald Trump does.
Second, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan could find themselves on the receiving end of a Trump-led effort to force GOP House and Senate members to choose new leadership. As recently as three weeks ago, a White House press briefing was conspicuous in its very tepid expression of support for both men.
If Trump decides to, he will make Ryan’s and McConnell’s lives miserable. (If they doubt this, they should check with Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.)
It boils down to this. On the one hand you have Republicans who are not terribly bothered by losing. On the other, you have Donald Trump for whom the idea of losing is worse than death.
In the inevitable clash that’s coming, my money’s on Trump.