You remember how Trump said that he wouldn’t take up his massive tax cuts until Obamacare was repealed? Trump sure doesn’t, since he boasted yesterday that they are moving massively ahead of schedule. Or perhaps he remembered the morning after, since today he called for the Senate to push the button on their “nuclear option” to push his horribly unpopular, abject failure of a replacement (Trumpcare) through. What it really shows is that he’s too stupid, or smug, to recognize that he’s trying to burn down his own house.
Trump calls for the Senate to go nuclear
Today, Trump triumphantly tweeted (and no, it wasn’t one of his staff writing it):
The U.S. Senate should switch to 51 votes, immediately, and get Healthcare and TAX CUTS approved, fast and easy. Dems would do it, no doubt!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2017
This is commonly referred to as the “nuclear option,” where the party in power changes cloture rules to require just 51 votes, rather than 60 before a bill can go to the Senate floor for a vote. This ensures the party in power can achieve their goal without the threat of a filibuster.
Why nuclear? This completely eliminates the voice of the minority, effectively rendering them without any power to represent their constituents. It’s such a big deal that it has only ever been invoked twice in the history of the Republic, once already by this Congress.
So it’s of little surprise that it took very little time for his own party to take notice. And not the good kind.
“If you’re a Republican,” warned Politico just a few hours later, “here’s what might worry you, according to several Republicans both in the administration and dealing with the administration: the president either is not paying attention, or does not understand the simple basics of what his party is trying to do with control of the White House and both chambers of Congress.”
Of note, Senators serve far more citizens than Representatives, and therefore they can’t afford to be as brash in the extremism of their bills. Facing the specter of gutting health care for 23,000,000 Americans, even the most Conservative of Republicans in the Senate are likely doing the electoral math as they weigh their vote for the House version of Trumpcare.
In short, an up-or-down vote on the healthcare plan in hand is probably political suicide.
“Why can’t we use nukes?”
Trump denies he asked that on TV, and he will likely deny he called for it today. Buried deeper in that call to metaphorical nuclear arms is that Trump is asking his party to burn down their own house. And he is either too stupid or too smug to care.
What he doesn’t seem to grasp is that adopting the nuclear option might be great for Republicans today, but control of Congress continually shifts. It’s a sure bet that GOP leaders won’t create a situation in which they’ll be taken to the woodshed when Democrats take back the Senate. That’s why it just isn’t done. That’s why Democrats didn’t do it even during 7-straight-years of endless Republican obstructionism.
Does Trump get that? It’s honestly hard to say. Given all his financial and personal chicanery, his lying, his flip-flopping, his impetuous outbursts and pathetic denials, the case is pretty solid that he is either unwilling or incapable of thinking past tomorrow.
Featured image from Pixabay