House Republicans pulled their bill that would have overhauled Obamacare today. With Democrats united against it, they couldn't pull off the balancing act needed between hardline conservatives looking for as much of a repeal as possible, and moderates who wanted to keep many of the provisions.
This could be a game changer for Republicans, including the president. Here are 3 things that changed immediately with the Republican failure:
1) Trump lost his image as the in-control closer. Donald Trump fancied himself throughout his entire business career as being a closer. That was the big asset he was going to bring to the presidency. That was what he needed to do this time around to get the vote passed. He couldn't do it. Not only that, but in the lead up to the vote, he tried to get Republicans on board with threats (vote yes or lose your seat in the next election). Donald the Authoritarian didn't seem to scare anyone off.
2) Paul Ryan's speakership may be in trouble. Donald Trump isn't the only one for Republicans to blame. This was House Speaker Paul Ryan's failure more than anyone else's. Reports say the president didn't want to immediately tackle health care, and instead wanted to focus on things that could have been quick, consensus-building wins, like infrastructure improvements. Instead, it was Ryan who convinced Trump and his team that Obamacare repeal should be their first priority. That strategy is all well and good if you have the votes. But they didn't have the votes. Why would you force the bill if you don't have the votes? Why would you force the issue when the bill has a terrible approval rating? That's a mistake that falls squarely on Paul Ryan. Will he be able to overcome it?
3) Republicans disunity went on full display. Republicans wanted everyone to believe they were united and ready to govern. This shows that they aren't. There are a group of ultra-conservatives out there who, as this bill shows, are very far away from the more moderate wing of the party. Expect both groups to blame Trump and blame Paul Ryan, which in the end will help create on very dysfunctional family.
Democrats shouldn't relax. Republicans still have a long time to roll back Obamacare. For now, however, they can enjoy their win thanks to a Republican party that decided to do too much, too fast.
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