Midday Briefing: Republicans Are Turning Against Republicans
While Congress has suggested it’s ready to move on from Healthcare (and even Mitch McConnell conceded as much), Donald Trump spent the weekend trying to jumpstart it again by threatening to take away not only Obamacare payments, but health care from Congress:
If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2017
If ObamaCare is hurting people, & it is, why shouldn't it hurt the insurance companies & why should Congress not be paying what public pays?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 31, 2017
Apparently, Trump didn’t learn from his petty attempt to bully Lisa Murkowski into voting for the skinny repeal that it’s not a tactic that works. But what about calling Senate Republicans names? Will that work?
Republicans in the Senate will NEVER win if they don't go to a 51 vote majority NOW. They look like fools and are just wasting time……— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2017
Unless the Republican Senators are total quitters, Repeal & Replace is not dead! Demand another vote before voting on any other bill!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2017
Dear Quitters who look like Fools: Please do something to save my Presidency. But before you do, I’m going to fire my Chief of Staff, aka, the only link I have remaining to the Republican establishment! Oh yeah: And I’m also going to continue my campaign of humiliation against Jeff Sessions.
Trump continues to alienate the only people that can help him. And how does Trump expect to hire only the “best people,” when he bullies and humiliates his own party and his own employees at every turn?
It’s not just his own party that Trump is fighting with, either. It’s also his daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka and Jared, who now concede — after Trump’s ban on transgender people in the military — that they have little influence on the President when it comes to policy. Yeah, no shit. They were, however, apparently instrumental in the ousting of Reince Priebus, so now General John Kelly comes in on a day where Donald Trump’s pollster of record — Rasmussen, which skews to the right — now says that Trump has a 61 percent disapproval rating, a record high for the pollster. Trump is actually going on vacation for three weeks next week (because more vacation is exactly what he needs), and my guess is that relative quiet from the President is the only way his numbers will improve (though, I also suspect that vacationing will give him even more time to Tweet, which only hurts him).
At least he’s got this North Korea problem under control.
Trump on North Korea: 'We will handle North Korea. We will be able to handle them. It will be handled. We handle everything'— Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN) July 31, 2017
Wow! That inspires confidence.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — who has been waging war against the Tea Party for years — has decided to spend as much as $8 million from his SuperPAC to defeat two Trump Republicans in special elections in Alabama, where they’re running against Mitch McConnell as a symbol of the establishment (the Republican Party is so far right now that McConnell is the “establishment.”) Ironically, McConnell is trying to defeat Mo Brooks by running ads suggesting that Brooks is unsupportive of Trump, which is working in a deeply red state where Trump is still hugely popular. In other words, McConnell’s strategy is to attack the pro-Trump candidate as anti-Trump so that his more establishment candidate (who is less pro-Trump) can further solidify the establishment, which Trump does not like.
There’s clearly a lot of political acrobatics at play.
Meanwhile, Jeff Flake — who is up for re-election in Arizona in 2018 where Trump is planning to fund his opponents — is striking back by writing a book contrasting his form of conservatism with Trump’s form of ultra-conservatism, meaning that not only will the Republican nomination in Arizona next year continue to split the GOP apart, but two factions are clearly opening up within the entire GOP: The Pro-Trump ultraconservatives and the establishment. Of course, the Democrats won’t be able to take advantage of this unless we can heal the divide between the Bernie Democrats and our establishment Dems (really, we need four major political parties in this country, instead of two, and we should rule by coalitions).
There’s not a lot of room left in the middle, but centrists of both parties, nevertheless, are quietly working in the House to write a bill that will stabilize Obamacare. The bill is currently being worked on by 40 House Republicans and Democrats with the hopes of getting it through the House, and if they can get it through there, I suspect they can get 51 votes in the Senate from Democrats and moderate Republicans. However, if it is a bill that stabilizes Obamacare, Congress may run up against the President, who seems hellbent on destroying Obamacare before he considers anything else, even if it comes at his own political expense.
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