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Repubs in Congress abandon Trump on campaign promises



Consider Donald J. Trump’s major campaign promises. Here’s a list of three of them. Then guess how many are going to be included in the Republican’s spending bill next month.

  1. Building the Mexican wall.
  2. Eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood.
  3. Boosting military spending.

If you guessed one, or two, or three of them, you’re wrong. None will be funded in the upcoming bill, according to the Wall Street Journal, which reports that Republicans are “likely to exclude the most contentious provisions from legislation needed to keep the government running past April.”

This is pretty shocking, since it comes on the heels of Trump breaking his #1 campaign promise—to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. That was demoralizing enough to Republicans; now, this latest inability to follow through on his pledges means that Trump’s voters are starting to understand just how incompetent and mendacious he is.

Why won’t Congressional Republicans fund even these most basic campaign promises? Because, after the collapse of Trumpcare, they understand they can get nothing done by themselves. The party is so riven with internal fractures, so politically incoherent, that the only things Trump can get done are through executive orders, which don’t require Congressional approval. (This is how Trump is demolishing the Environmental Protection Agency. If he had tried to do it legislatively, it, too, would go down in flames.)

Put yourselves in the shoes of a typical Trump supporter. He voted for Trump essentially for these four issues (repeal Obamacare, build the Wall and have Mexico pay for it, put Planned Parenthood out of business, and pour billions more into the Pentagon). How must he feel now, as he sees each of those cherished dreams threatened? True, Trump may eventually get all four done. But he’s going to need Democrats, and, as with any political wheeling and dealing, it’s always a question of who needs whom more. In this current political atmosphere, where Trump is feeling a world of hurt despite his denials and those of his surrogates, Democrats don’t need Trump for anything. He’s swinging in the wind, circling the drain—choose your metaphor—and if, in fact, Democrats were to work with Trump to rehabilitate his image and give him something to brag about, their constituents would hold it against them. So Trump needs Democrats, not the other way around.

Some people, including a few Democrats, will argue that my position is crazy. They say that we should put the country first, that antipathy to Trump is not the highest priority, getting stuff done is. I can respect that point of view. But I don’t agree. Yes, stuff needs to get done. But not Republican stuff. We do not need a Mexican wall. We should not stand by and see Planned Parenthood gutted. The Defense Department does not need tens and tens of extra billions of dollars. (And we certainly don’t need to reduce taxes on billionaires.) Trump now is making noise about working with Democrats on fixing Obamacare. Well, here’s my proposal for a deal: Stop using the words “repeal and replace.” Admit that “repeal” is not going to happen because it’s not needed; Obamacare has done what it promised to do (unlike Trump). Fix whatever needs to get fixed, but retain the name “Affordable Care Act” and get rid of that stupid “American Health Care Act” nomenclature. Yes, it will be very hard for a man as arrogant as Trump to swallow his pride and continue to call the A.C.A. by its real name, while working with Democrats to improve it. But Democrats should insist on no less.

At any rate, maybe talking about this stuff, while the Senate and F.B.I. investigations are active (forget about the House Intelligence Committee) is premature. We may not have a President Trump before too long. Wouldn’t it be interesting to get inside Mike Pence’s head and hear what he’s thinking? Too bad Gerald Ford is no longer around to advise him.

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