“I alone can fix this!” Trump is right, he alone can fix something nobody else in the GOP was interested in tinkering with because it wasn’t broken in the first place. And what he may be fixing right now is their last meal before the 2018 midterms.
For the purposes of this little fireside chat, forget the insanity of the last year and a half under Trump. If you followed politics at all, from 2008-2016 the GOP was in a rut. But it was a very nice, comfy rut to be in. Throughout the Obama years, with the built in buffer oaf a Presidential veto to protect them, the Republicans ran on basically three simple issues. They ran on healthcare, taxes, and immigration.
As rare as the occasion is, when Trump slips up and actually tells the truth, you gotta highlight it it, and give him the credit he’s due. Trump said repeatedly during the campaign that “he alone can fix this.” And he’s been good to his word. He’s fixed it alright. In just 18 months, he’s fixed it so that the GOP has nothing national to run on in the 2018 midterm election. Here’s what I mean, one at a time.
When you think about it in retrospect, the 30 million Americans who gained insurance coverage were not the biggest beneficiaries of the Affordable Care Act. The greatest beneficiaries were the Republican party. For 4 straight cycles, 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016 they ran almost solely on repealing Obamacare, flipping the house in 2010 over the issue.
The mantra itself was simple, and monotonous, it went something like this, “Elect us, and we’ll get rid of the death panels! We can fix your healthcare. Every man, woman, and child will have a personal physician, you’ll have a 24/7 reservation for a private room at the Mayo Clinic, and a trauma surgeon will put iodine on Junior’s scraped knee. There will be an ambulance parked in your driveway, and a visiting nurse to treat your hangover. Just put us in charge, and you’ll live to be 200!”
That’s gone now. The GOP holds the House, the Senate, and the Oval Office. Not only did Trump not repeal the ACA, the GOP took a hammer to the fundamental supports of the ACA in their tax bill, leading to a loss of coverage, and near certain hefty rate increases in October for 2019 premiums.Trump himself took a lead in removing healthcare as an issue Republican incumbents could run on by hammering his own House and Senate for the failure to “repeal and replace” the ACA. And now, not only do Republicans not have improved healthcare to run on as an accomplishment, the Democrats are going to whack them for mucking up a workable system. Problem fixed, mission accomplished.
The Republicans historically love to run on cutting taxes, I think it’s inscribed on their secret decoder rings. They love to cut taxes for one good reason. They never pay for them, which allows them to look like saviors of the middle class, while running up huge deficits that they’ll blame the Democrats for when they take over power again.
The GOP ran on tax cuts all through the Obama administration, knowing that they could promise the moon, since Obama would veto their goodie giveaway. But when Trump got inaugurated, it was time to pay the piper on tax cuts, mainly the rich shitpokes that had been bankrolling the GOP candidates for the last 8 years. And Trump turned what should have been a campaign promise slam dunk into a liability going into November.
Trump forgot one simple rule, “Always stroke the suckers.” George W Bush was so infuriated at the gall of that librul moron Bill Clinton handing him a surplus that he immediately cut taxes to put us back in the red, where we belonged, so he could blame the Democrats for it later.
But say what you will about Bush Lite, he knew how to do tax cuts. He lowered taxes for individuals in 2001, and because he had free money to play with in the surplus, he made them substantial enough to make a difference. It wasn’t until 2003 that he lowered taxes on corporations, giving the everyday rubes two years to enjoy their extra moolah before doling out cookies to the uber rich. This caused little angst among the voters, since they already had theirs.
Trump screwed the pooch, on two fronts. First, he was a cheap ass in his tax cuts for lower and middle class serfs. He did that because every dollar he gave to taxpayers was one less dollar he could give to AT&T and himself and Ivanka. But the mortal sin he committed was in putting the individual tax cuts and the corporate tax cuts into the same bill.This allowed anybody with a high school education and a pocket calculator to make a side by side comparison of the relative benefits. It wasn’t even a horse race. The GOP tried test marketing their tax cuts in the PA-18 special election, and the results were so abysmal that they haven’t even tried to resurrect them for the primaries.Thanks to Trump’s unbridled greed, and the GOP’s total fealty to their corporate overlords, the GOP can no longer run on tax cuts, and Democratic challengers can eviscerate them over it. Strike two.
This one is nothing but inexcusable. This has been the hands down, most favoritest issue in the world for Republicans, election after election. George W Bush actually tried to take care of immigration reform once and for all, in a comprehensive way, and his own House sent him to his room without supper for trying to take their favorite chew toy away. Republicans may not have PhD’s, but they know which side their toast is buttered on.
The reason it’s inexcusable is that Trump didn’t have to do a goddamned thing. Trump ran on closing the southern border with a big, beautiful wall. There is no way that the Democrats were going to give him funding for the wall, and no way that Mexico was going to pony up to trap all of the Guatamalans and Salvadorans in Mexico. Trump and the GOP could propose bills that the Democrats would block, and then continue to run on immigration endlessly, blaming the Democratic obstruction for keeping them from making the US a nice safe, cozy, armed camp. A second grader is politically savvy enough to figure that one out.
But Trump had to go and screw the pooch. He tried to make good on his Muslim ban, but since everything that Steven Miller touches dies, the courts wiped their collective ass with his Executive Order. When Mexican President Pena Nieto told His Lowness to get some K-Y for the tab for that wall of his, Trump finally tried to get back on message, asking congress for “interim” funding for the wall, and then blasting Democrats for shooting him the bird. Sanity salvaged.
But then Trump went off of the rails. Because he’s a political imbecile, Trump gave “Chuck and Nancy” the keys to the DACA store, and then had to reverse himself when Miller and John Kelly got out of the cardiac intensive care unit. Trump forced the GOP to own DACA, which up until that point the GOP had blamed Obama for, as executive overreach. And the Democrats promptly played “issue baseball” with it. First they took the DACA ball, and they shoved it up the GOP’s ass. And then they took the bat, and tamped it up about a foot.
But the coup de grace was the insane “zero tolerance” policy that separated parents and children at the border. I honestly think that Trump and Sessions thought that they could slide this one in under the door, since undocumented immigrants had no voice, and no rights, nobody would pay attention. Instead, you have an iconic photo of a screaming two year old watching her mother be frisked, a $15 million kitty for immigrants and their children to get legal help, and an audio of screaming toddlers that will be worn out by the time November 6th gets here. Maybe, maybe you can run on this issue in somewhere like MS-13, or KS-7, but no other GOP incumbents can touch immigration with a 30 foot pole. Worse yet, Democrats can not only touch it, they can pick it up with both hands and swing with all of their might.
This really kills GOP incumbents, especially in vulnerable districts, for one simple reason. GOP incumbents have spent their careers largely ignoring their constituents. They really need national successes to run on, because they’re abysmally ignorant of local issues, Joe and Suzy don’t drop off $10,000 campaign donations. And this year, they’re running against local, motivated, non political opponents, many of them women (gasp!). Not only can these candidates machine gun GOP incumbents with their failures, they can speak intelligently and passionately about local issues that GOP incumbents are blissfully ignorant of.
Then again, wadda I know? Hell,I’m just another dumb liberal Mick from Chicago. But I listened when Trump said “I alone can fix this,” and from what I can see, he’s doing a bang up job of it. Basically, what he’s fixing is a worn out, busted ass GOP majority in the House of Representatives. Here Mr President, try this spanner.