At this point, basically any and all paths of repealing the Affordable Care Act seem to be hitting a dead end for Republicans, and most of the strife is coming from within the party itself. Democrats are seeing this as an opportunity which might create a scenario where 2018 could be a chance to regain power in the House thanks to GOP failures through inaction.
As the Associated Press reports, the collapse this week is nothing short of full implosion:
The implosion of the Senate Republican health care bill leaves a divided GOP with its flagship legislative priority in tatters and confronts a wounded President Donald Trump and congressional leaders with dicey decisions about addressing their perhaps unattainable seven-year-old promise of repealing President Barack Obama’s law.
Two GOP senators — Utah’s Mike Lee and Jerry Moran of Kansas — sealed the measure’s doom late Monday when each announced they would vote “no” in an initial, critical vote that had been expected as soon as next week. Their startling, tandem announcement meant that at least four of the 52 GOP senators were ready to block the measure — two more than Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., had to spare in the face of a wall of Democratic opposition.
“Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful,” McConnell said in a late evening statement that essentially waved a white flag.
It was the second stinging setback on the issue in three weeks for McConnell, whose reputation as a legislative mastermind has been marred as he’s failed to unite his chamber’s Republicans behind a health overhaul package that’s highlighted jagged divides between conservatives and moderates. In late June, he abandoned an initial package after he lacked enough GOP support to pass.
The major issue facing Republicans is not fighting their Democratic opponents, it’s fighting with the GOP base over the promise of repealing Obamacare. Democrats see the landscape of 2018 unfolding with the hope that conservative voters decide to throw in the towel and not come out to support the GOP next year, according to McClatchy:
For the first time since November, Democrats are feeling good.
The GOP’s quest to repeal and replace Obamacare has collapsed. Its unpopular president is under investigation by a special counsel. And the rest of the Republican Party’s legislative agenda is, at best, on shaky ground.
Now, Democrats are brimming with a new optimism about next year’s midterm elections. They think the GOP’s stymied policy plan gives them a chance to make the case that Republicans — in complete control of Washington — are incompetent, a potentially significant new line of attack for a party in desperate need of winning over conservative voters in red states and battleground House districts.
“Democrats are beginning to believe that we can be good at politics again,” said Adam Jentleson, a former top aide to onetime Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “There’s still a heavy, high degree of trauma that still has not worn off from election night, but we’re finding our footing step by step.”
Each and every day that goes by without a signature piece of Trump’s agenda passed is another day Democrats can point out the failure of Republicans to successfully govern. In some respects, there hasn’t been much that Democrats needed to do in recent months to prevent any major accomplishments. Republicans have been infighting over the Obamacare repeal with a series of small breakthroughs followed by major defeats as each iteration of a repeal and replace bill goes up in flames.
If we are sitting here exactly a year from now still talking about the lack of any legislative accomplishment by Congress and the President, it could spell serious trouble heading into the mid-term elections and a major opening for Democrats looking to regain control.