The showdown between Trump and the GOP continues. Although we can only speculate about what is happening behind closed doors, we can watch the drama unfold on twitter.
The Freedom Caucus is credited with causing the American Health Care Act, also termed Ryancare, to fail. Some, like Pat Buchanan, have argued that the Freedom Caucus did Trump a favor.
Did the Freedom Caucus just pull the Republican Party back off the ledge, before it jumped to its death? A case can be made for that. Before the American Health Care Act, aka ‘Ryancare,’ was pulled off the House floor Friday, it enjoyed the support — of 17 percent of Americans. Had it passed, it faced an Antietam in the GOP Senate, and probable defeat. Had it survived there, to be signed by President Trump, it would have meant 14 million Americans losing their health insurance in 2018. First among the losers would have been white working-class folks who delivered the Rust Belt states to President Trump.
But doing Trump a favor out of spite and doing Trump a solid are two different things. Here is what the Freedom Caucus had to say:
Freedom Caucus stood with u when others ran. Remember who your real friends are. We're trying to help u succeed.
— Raúl R. Labrador (@Raul_Labrador) March 30, 2017
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) March 30, 2017
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) March 30, 2017
Politics in the United States have turned into Mean Girls-tier slap fights on Twitter
The Freedom Caucus picked a fight against Trump that they knew they could win. Ryancare was hugely unpopular, and defeating it took little effort on their part. It was an easy victory for the saboteurs in the GOP. They will likely feel emboldened by their success and continue to oppose Trump’s plans going forward.
It seems that Trump managed to turn the GOP opposition against itself by throwing his support behind House Speaker Paul Ryan. Did Trump plan this? Perhaps, but there is also the consideration that Ryan tied himself to this bill voluntarily. He had been planning Ryancare for years. All Trump had to do was stand back and watch one of his main political rivals fall on his own sword.
Since then, Trump has also turned on Ryan. This should come as no surprise to anyone who closely followed the election campaign.
There is more than enough evidence to believe that Trump has little goodwill toward Ryan. During the election campaign, Trump had nothing but harsh words for the Speaker of the House. One day after Ryan told House Republicans that he would not campaign with and no longer defend the GOP nominee, Trump tweeted out:
“Desite winning the second debate in a landslide (every poll), it is hard to do well when Paul Ryan and others give zero support!”
He then followed it up with some more salvos:
“Our very weak and ineffective leader, Paul Ryan, had a bad conference call where his members went wild at his disloyalty,”
“It is so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to.”
Are we to believe that Trump had a change of heart when he made it into office? Unlikely. The lackluster effort on Ryan’s part and the failure to repeal Obamacare despite Republican control of the House gives Trump all the ammunition he needs to move against the Speaker.
Trump also tweeted to supporters to watch Judge Jeanine on Fox. Jeanine delivered a powerful argument for why Ryan should step down as Speaker.
Reportedly, Trump was unaware of the subject of Jeanine’s show when he made his tweet, but lets not be naive. Remember, “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.”
So what is likely to happen to health care moving forward? Obamacare will most likely begin to come apart at the seams as insurance rates skyrocket, and the blame will fall squarely on the Democrats. Trump can even say that he tried to prevent it but that Democrats wouldn’t listen. Perhaps by the 2018 midterms, the situation will have worsened to the degree where American voters will be demanding a simple repeal of the Affordable Care Act after suffering under it for nearly a decade. It will line up an easy legislative target for the GOP in the run up to the election.