COLUMN: Health care failure reveals Trump isn't who he said he was, Dems have more power than previously thought
Last month, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives attempted to ram a divisive and unpopular bill through the United States Congress and onto the American people.
The failure of this bill, the American Health Care Act, exposed two truths: President Donald Trump is not the deal-making expert he claimed to be, and Democrats have more power than anyone may have realized.
The repeal and replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was supposed to be easy for Republicans. They campaigned and fought to repeal it for the past seven years.
This was their chance to do it.
Even with control of the House, Senate and presidency, Republicans failed to do what they promised — repeal the "disaster" that is Obamacare.
They failed, and did so in spectacular fashion, exposing major rifts within the party.
The failure to get the bill passed partially rests on Trump’s shoulders. This failure showed that he is not a president who fully understands the complexities of politics and policy.
During his campaign, Trump boasted how he understood Washington D.C. better than anyone. He said he knew the system.
After his endorsement of the bill, he sat down with lawmakers, saying he was confident he would be able to use his expertise to get the bill passed. After numerous meetings with moderate Republicans and Freedom Caucus leaders — members who were instrumental to his election — it was clear the bill wouldn't come to a vote.
The bill was dropped. The failure exposes Trump as a president who does not know Washington politics, nor the politics of his own party.
The bill's failure may also indicate how much power House Democrats wield.
Even with a Republican majority, there is very little room for error on their part. If Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi can keep Democrats united, only 21 Republicans need to vote "no" before a bill fails. Legislation must appeal to both moderate Republicans and far-right conservatives.
This is where complications arise.
The more conservative a bill is, the more likely it will turn off moderates. The more watered down the bill becomes, the more likely it is to turn off conservatives.
This leaves a wide opening for Democrats to find their way to the bargaining table. Trump has already acknowledged this by saying he may be willing to negotiate with Democrats in the future.
Perhaps the rifts in the Republican party, Trump’s misgivings and the Democratic cohesion will bring about a period of much needed bipartisanship.
That may be a fantasy, but the reality is these two revelations are sure to be illuminating as Republicans plot their next move.