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.

8 COMMENTS

  1. The Paul’s just don’t get it. All They want is their 15 minutes of fame. The Democrats at least pulled together to pass the ACA.

    Trump should mainly deal with the Democrats to get a good health care bill passed. That would really irritate Paul. But Paul, etc aren’t going to change.

  2. Democrats should not get overconfident (again). It’s still a long way to election day.

    My guess is that passage of an Obamacare repeal would have been more damaging for the GOP, since as Trump kept saying, they don’t want to “own” health care. Trump is a punitive person. There are lots of ways he can undermine the current system, cause chaos, and then claim innocence.

    More importantly, There are a million things that might happen to boost Trump’s popularity. The expectations are so low (36% approval) that if people learned that he tied his own shoes, his numbers will rise. Trump is also a gambler. Americans like action. If he goes for some kind of a “Hail Mary” and it works, he’ll be America’s “fair-haired boy.”

    • I agree completely, overconfidence is a definite hazard for the Dems. That said, a good shot of confidence would do us all a world of good.

      Obamacare is not double edged, it is adorned with cutting edged turned in every direction, repeal with or without replace has hazards for Republicans, likewise no repeal. If it is repealed and people suffer, D’s up, Rs down. If not repealed and not repaired Rs up, Ds take the blame. It looks to me like some true public servants could working together, could solve some problems fix healthcare and win themselves wings and halos. But they would probably fight over where to display the trophy.

      As for ways Trump can undermine the system or “punish” anyone, I think his grip on power is slipping at an alarming rate. The days of staying on the teleprompter for one speech and sounding “presidential” are fading into the distance. He never had many supporters among Democrats, recent polls show support among Independants eroding rapidly. He still enjoys support among his base, but even the most strong willed self deceiver can only be kicked in the head so many times. He will eventually lose even those.

      As far as being a gambler, he seems to be betting everything on the house ( read family) and they come first. As the new revelations come in, and they will continue, his bets will be revealed to be self serving. I think that nicotine yellow that you see now is as “fair” as it gets.

  3. It is only a matter of time before all reasonable Republicans realize the grave error they made in the last election. Unreasonable Republicans are, as ever, a lost cause. Hope springs eternal though. Empathetic, decent human beings generally outweigh the hateful sort. So, sense, reason and humanity will return again. It always does. Be glad to put this dark period of American politics where it belongs: in the past.

  4. Donald Trump is fast becoming his own worst enemy. Trump’s base is the uneducated, the needy, and the old who foolishly believe he is their benefactor. When Trump’s 2018 budget goes into effect and all their government aid suddenly evaporates or is so meager they cannot survive on it, then and only then, will his base acknowledge the evil that is Trump.

  5. Republicans now have won the opportunity to confirm where their true loyalty lies. With the common citizen or with the rich who line their pockets?

    The procedural vote Tuesday was a vote for blind party loyalty, not deliberation and not sound public policy. McConnell persuaded most of his colleagues to go along despite his not having a concrete plan to be used after they won the right to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

    Although John McCain accused party leaders of concocting a plan behind closed doors and “springing it on skeptical members, trying to convince them it’s better than nothing, asking us to swallow our doubts and force it past a unified opposition. I don’t think that is going to work in the end. And it probably shouldn’t.” Having said this, McCain still voted to take away insurance from more than half a million Arizonans who depend on the Affordable Care act.
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