Trump’s first experience with the Freedom Caucus is going about as well as it did for Obama.
After a tense day negotiating with Republican extremists and “moderates” (boy is that term ever relative) Trump threw in the towel on negotiating and demanded a vote on Friday. The vote might happen. But he might not like the outcome.
The Republicans have played Russian roulette with healthcare for a long time, especially when it comes to appeasing their base. This bill is extremely unpopular. And while Trump might operate in a different zone when it comes to his base, there is still a great divide in the Republican Party between the “business” (Let Detroit Go Bankrupt So That Vultures Like Bain Capital Can Move In, Outsource Tons Of Jobs And Get Rich) faction “religious” (Jesus Loved Everyone Except For The Poor, People Of Color, People In The LGBT Community And Women) faction and racist (Alt-Right Richard Spencer) faction.
In this particular case, the business faction and the religious/racist faction are at each other’s throats. Folks like Tom Price want to make money with insurance executives. They can probably best do that if people have to buy insurance with the most watered down coverage possible.
But not so fast, says the “R” team! Since this law has a black man’s name on it, it should be wiped off the face of the earth. Who cares if we lose tons of seats and our possible majority? At least that’ll put that Kenyan Obama in his rightful place.
Well, either way they’re likely in a quandary. Pass a bill and risk the wrath of a whole host of Democrats and Independents. Don’t pass a bill and have your base stay home in 2017-2018, weakening Trump’s “agenda” for his presidency. It’s a polarizing issue that represents core beliefs on two sides of the political spectrum.
When it comes to governing, Trump has no clue what he’s doing. Obama knew he was heading into a tough fight, but he also knew that once people had health insurance after not having it, the law would be just fine, à la Social Security and Medicare. Sure enough, he left office extremely popular and with millions of people signed up for insurance that weren’t before.
Personally, I’ve benefitted from the ACA. Underemployed and unemployed for three years after college, I was able to stay on my parents health care until the day before I was 26, when the organization I was working for at the time kicked in my health benefits. Without it, I would’ve been really screwed.
Obama did a lot of political maneuvering in his career. Passing this law, though more policy driven than politically driven, might have been the best trap he ever set.