The GOP Is Governing Against The Will Of The Majority
Trump’s tainted victory in last year’s presidential election was one of the most underwhelming victories in the history of American politics. Trump lost the popular vote by two percentage points and 3 million votes. This was one of the worst popular vote showings by any president in American history. Only Rutherford Hayes and John Quincy Adams did worse than Trump.
The legitimacy of the victories of Rutherford Hayes and John Quincy Adams were considered questionable at the time. Hayes was elected due to some chicanery in the vote counting in three Southern states and was nicknamed “Rutherfraud” Hayes. Quincy Adams lost the electoral and popular vote to Andrew Jackson but won the election in the House of Representatives due to a “corrupt bargain” with Henry Clay.
Trump won the electoral college with 304 electoral votes — and with the help of the Russians and the FBI. As a matter of fact, the former TV reality star won the electoral college by a total of around 70,000 votes in three states out of a total of 136 million votes cast in the U.S. in November 2016. Trump’s margin of victory in the electoral college was 46th out of 58 in U.S. history.
At the same time, Trump eked out his questionable win in the electoral college, the GOP lost seats in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Republican candidates lost the popular vote in the Senate elections by a margin of 45 million to 33 million. Yet the GOP maintained a narrow 52–48 margin in the Senate due to the small state bias of the U.S. Constitution.
Even though Trump won a narrow and fluky victory, he has constantly bragged about it and has even falsely compared it to some of the great landslides in American history. At the same time, Trump and the GOP have claimed a mandate for their regressive agenda despite the questionable nature of their so-called “victory” last year.
Trump’s strange victory reflected the fact he was never really very popular in the first place and since he has taken office, his approval rating has plunged to a low of 35% with 64% disapproving. He is the most unpopular new president in U.S. history by a very wide margin. At the same time in his Presidency, Obama enjoyed a 61% approval rating.
Even though Trump and the GOP are very unpopular, they are pursuing an agenda even less popular then they are. The Trump Care bill currently has an approval rating that ranges between 17% and 21%. At the same time, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has an approval rating between 49% and 55%. In addition, polling for years has indicated that around 60% to 65% of the voters favor reforming the ACA and only 30% to 35% support repealing and replacing the ACA with a GOP plan.
Trump Care is wildly unpopular because it is a terrible bill. The House health care bill would take away insurance from 24 million people to finance a $600 billion tax cut for the wealthy. At the same time, the House bill would gut pre-existing condition protections. That’s why Paul Ryan rammed it through the House quickly without any hearings and a CBO score.
Since Trump Care passed the House, a committee of 13 right wing male Senators have been negotiating in secret regarding the parameters of the Senate version of Trump Care. McConnell has done everything he can to discourage leaks because the Senate bill is as bad as the House bill. What little we’ve learned is that the Senate bill will closely resemble the House bill but the Senate will cut Medicaid even more deeply.
In the Senate, as in the House, there have been no hearings and there may be no CBO score. It is rumored that McConnell may manipulate the Senate rules to only allow two hours of debate on the bill. It is evident that McConnell and his GOP colleagues in the Senate want to conceal the provisions of the bill lest the American people find out and revolt.
My educated guess is that if McConnell pulls off this coup and passes the Senate version of Trump Care, the House will call up an identical bill for a quick vote and hope to ram it through. All of this could happen in just a matter of a few days before the Congress’ July 4 vacation.
Unfortunately, Nebraska’s GOP Congressional delegation has been complicit with this attack on democracy and just simple decency. Fortenberry, Bacon and Smith all voted for Trump Care in the House. Over on the Senate side, Fischer and Sasse have voiced no serious objections to McConnell’s corrupt and secretive process to jam through a bad and unpopular bill.
As Democrats, we need to continue to call our members of Congress. I know our representatives are a tough sell but they need to hear from us. The next week is especially crucial since McConnell could call the Senate bill up for a vote at anytime. Once McConnell believes he has 51 votes, he will move very swiftly. Already, there is talk that the vote may be as early as next week.
At the same time, we need to begin to focus on the 2018 elections. I sense a major Democratic wave coming in light of the unpopularity of Trump and the GOP agenda. Most of the voters know that the GOP has little regard for majority opinion in this country. Majority rule and democracy are on the ballot next year. The stakes couldn’t be any higher. Now let’s get it done! No excuses!