This week, the Trump administration supported a federal judge’s ruling that the Affordable Care Act should be invalidated based on the removal of the individual insurance mandate from the law, which occurred through the 2017 Republican tax reform scheme. However, to Democrats running for federal office, including the presidency, the headlines may as well read “Republicans reload healthcare gun, point at own foot.”
Republicans failed at replacing the disastrous ACA during the last Congress, when they had a trifecta, and they will fail again unless they have made some serious changes behind closed doors, including agreeing upon a single replacement proposal. Since that’s unlikely, Republicans should probably just stay away from the ACA altogether. Another failed attempt at such a big piece of policy will only do two things for Republicans: First, it will serve in voters’ minds as another example of public policy failure by the party vying to lead the country; and second, it will put Democrats on the offensive all the way to November 2020.
This will be the case with pretty much every policy proposed by Trump and the Senate GOP for the next two years. The solution, sadly, is to just enter reelection mode. Shut policy down, and ramp rhetoric up. The President needs to go on a victory tour and hold some rallies in Mar-a-Lago, Arizona, and West Virginia, decrying the media, the Democrats, the deep state and whoever else as witch-hunting, America-hating globalists who want to ship your jobs overseas and import illegals to take what’s left. Let’s face it, it’s what he does best.
Donald Trump did not win the 2016 election with his ideas. He won it by campaigning, and if he wants four more years, that’s what he’ll have to do. The Mueller report just gave him a ton of momentum, so why waste that doing what he’s worst at: Legislating?
This is pretty sad, but it’s the case for most first-term presidents. With a split Congress, and an opposing side that absolutely despises him, what choice does he have?
Any attempt to reach middle ground will be killed, and his opponents will use their free rein as outsiders to lambast every misstep as the great disqualifier. I could be talking about Bush, Obama, Trump, or the next guy (or gal) here. It doesn’t matter.
My advice to Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is to stop caring about policy, and start pretending to care about policy. Use the bully pulpit. Find the winning issues, and dictate the narrative. Let the Greatest Show on Earth truly kick off.
As for the Democrats, keep on keeping on. You guys are doing great. At no point have you had to explain policy, and recently you haven’t even had to vote on your own bills. When the special investigation that you propped up for two years fell apart, you punted, and as a fan of Big Ten football, I can appreciate a good punt. Your friends in the media wrapped up the $25 million report quickly in the 24 hour news cycle, and now you can pretend to care about the climate, or infrastructure, or whatever.
Now, Democrats do enjoy the advantageous position that Republicans had from 2010-2016, and that is the annoying little brother position. With control of the House, and no fear of their asinine policies actually passing the Senate, Democrats can pretty much vote for whatever. Load up the backlog with as many Green New Deals as you want, and blame McConnell for not addressing these super cereal topics with lengthy debates and hearings. There aren’t near enough people paying attention to catch onto what you’re doing, and those that do weren’t gonna vote for you anyways.
If I had just one piece of advice for you, it’d be to visit the rust belt once or twice this time. Give the rust belt voters the lip service they crave, with empty words only a post-union Democrat could give.
Or don’t. It probably doesn’t matter. This election really is yours to lose. Then again, so was the last one.