Republicans

Will Republicans Draw a Red Line for Trump?

First Read: “If things appear that the country is indeed headed toward a possible constitutional crisis — Trump instructing the Justice Department to fire Mueller, Trump pardoning aides and family members — there is a simple solution: Congressional Republicans can act.”

“They can do so by passing a law to reinstate Mueller, or they can threaten impeachment. The question, of course, is whether they’d follow through.”

“That’s why every member of Congress should be on the record on this question: What will you do if Trump tries to fire Mueller or pardon his aides or family members? And the fact that this question needs to be asked — six months into Trump’s tenure as president — is an extraordinary development.”

Why Republicans Still Stick By Trump

Paul Waldman: “Most of us see politics as a grand contest between parties and nationally-known figures. Politicians who want to keep their jobs have to think much smaller. So imagine you’re a Republican member of Congress from Kansas or Idaho or Alabama. Trump won your district by 25 points, and you barely had to campaign against your token Democratic opponent. Fox News and Rush Limbaugh play from the speakers in every diner and gas station in your district. The folks you talk to back home may have some misgivings about one thing or another that the administration is doing, but they are united in their hatred of liberals, Democrats, and the mainstream national media.”

“That’s why the only real political danger you worry about is a primary challenge from the right. You know that while Trump’s approval ratings rarely break 40 percent, his approval among Republican voters is still around 85 percent… And the Republicans who vote in primaries tend to be even more conservative than Republican voters overall.”

“Some version of that story describes most Republicans in Congress.”

An Epic Failure for Republicans

Dan Balz: “By any measure, the collapse of the Senate health-care bill represents an epic failure for the Republican Party and a major embarrassment for President Trump. The crusade that animated — and bound — conservatives for seven years proved to be a mirage, an objective without a solution. Power comes with consequences.”

“There is no way to spin to those who were promised that the Affordable Care Act would be repealed and replaced once Republicans held full power in Washington that what has happened is the fault of forces outside the party. This has been a Republican undertaking from start to finish. It is as if Republicans unknowingly set a trap and then walked into it without having prepared escape routes.”

“What price, if any, Republicans will pay for this setback will be revealed over the coming months.”

The GOP Has the Numbers But Not a True Majority

Stan Collender: “The biggest lesson from the Republicans’ failure to develop and pass a replacement for the Affordable Care Act is that having 52 out of 100 votes in the U.S. Senate does not guarantee a victory. The GOP’s numerical majority is not an ideological majority, and the collapse of the health care debate shows definitively that Senate (and probably House) Republicans are anything but ideologically aligned on major issues.”

“Congressional Republicans are so divided that the White House’s and leadership’s original promise of quick, definitive action was the height of political hubris. The GOP’s divisions on at least the major issues are much larger than the size of their majorities in both houses of Congress.”

“The Trump administration’s arrogance is somewhat understandable given its political inexperience and unsophistication, but it’s absolutely unforgivable from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).”

Republicans Turn on Each Other

Molly Ball: “The House is mad at the Senate. The Senate is mad at the House. Various factions in the House and Senate are mad at each other or mad at their leaders. Republican lawmakers have yet to turn on President Trump in any meaningful way. But they’re starting to turn on each other.”

“On Monday, the Republicans’ tortured health-care effort hit a seemingly permanent snag. But that was only the latest blow; after half a year of consolidated GOP control, not a single major piece of legislation has been enacted. With other priorities similarly stalled, legislators’ frustration is mounting.”

Trump Is Killing the Republican Party

Joe Scarborough: “I did not leave the Republican Party. The Republican Party left its senses. The political movement that once stood athwart history resisting bloated government and military adventurism has been reduced to an amalgam of talk-radio resentments. President Trump’s Republicans have devolved into a party without a cause, dominated by a leader hopelessly ill-informed about the basics of conservatism, U.S. history and the Constitution.”

GOP Reluctantly Admits They’ve Failed at Governing

“Republicans are failing at governance. And they know it,” the New York Times reports.

“Their senatorially painful decision announced on Tuesday to sacrifice some of lawmakers’ usually sacrosanct August recess was a public confession that they have not gotten the job done even while controlling the White House, Senate and House of Representatives.”

“In deciding to forgo at least the first two weeks of their regular summer getaway, Senator Mitch McConnell and his colleagues essentially admitted that they could not afford to go home to face constituents without making a concerted effort to pass contentious health care legislation and put some other points on the board.”

Republicans Need a Satan to Get Anything Done

Stan Collender: “For the past eight years the devil for Republicans was Barack Obama and sometimes Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). During the campaign it was Hillary Clinton.”

“Until recently, the GOP’s demonization strategy worked brilliantly. Whenever there was a clear demon to be defeated, all of the multiple factions in the Republican Party were able to put their many policy preferences, ideological contradictions and parochial needs aside to slay the dragon of the moment and have good triumph over evil.”

“But without a scary monster to be battled, the GOP’s intraparty mega differences have returned with a vengeance to wreak havoc on their attempts to govern and adopt any significant legislation.”

Pressure Builds on Republicans

New York Times: “When members of Congress return next week from their Fourth of July break, they will be greeted by a mammoth legislative logjam. Republicans are increasingly skeptical that they can get everything done. There are even calls from some to forgo their sacred August recess — a respite from the capital in its swampiest month.”

“The Republican Party is under intense pressure to achieve something of consequence in that limited time in order to legitimately claim that the first year of the Trump administration has been a success. So far, the ambitious agenda has stagnated without a signature achievement. President Trump’s unpredictability has only made matters more complicated.”

For members: There’s Serious Pain Ahead for Republicans

Senate Republicans Lay Low on July 4th

New York Times: “It is a tough summer for Senate Republicans, who are trying to combine a long-promised repeal of the Affordable Care Act with a replacement that has, in legislation drafted so far, been as popular as sunburn. Protesters have held sit-ins at Senate offices, phone lines have been jammed and editorial writers have blasted their states’ congressional delegations. Planes have even flown admonitory, if occasionally poorly conceived, banners over state capitals.”

“Republican senators have had to decide whether public appearances would be fruitful or the crowds hostile. Many lawmakers seem to have given up on town hall-style meetings and parades. Others are still braving them, knowing they may get an earful on the health care bills.”

The Republican Party Rejects Conservatism

David Brooks: “Republican politicians could have picked up one of these plans when they set out to repeal Obamacare. They could have created a better system that did not punish the poor. But there are two crucial differences between the conservative policy johnnies and Republican politicians.”

“First, conservative policy intellectuals tend to have accepted the fact that American society is coming apart and that measures need to be taken to assist the working class. Republican politicians show no awareness of this fact. Second, conservative writers and intellectuals have a vision for how they want American society to be in the 21st century. Republican politicians have a vision of how they want American government to be in the 21st century…”

“Is there a vision of society underlying those choices? Not really. Most political parties define their vision of the role of government around their vision of the sort of country they would like to create. The current Republican Party has iron, dogmatic rules about the role of government, but no vision about America.”

When a Political Party Abandons Ideas

Bruce Bartlett: “Almost two years ago, I wrote an article for Politico endorsing Donald Trump for president. It was a tongue-in-cheek effort—I ‘supported’ Trump only because I thought he would lose to Hillary Clinton, disastrously, and that his defeat would cleanse the Republican Party of the extremism and nuttiness that drove me out of it. I had hoped that post-2016, what remained of the moderate wing of the GOP would reassert itself as it did after the Goldwater debacle in 1964, and exorcise the crazies.”

“Almost everything that has happened since November 8 has been the inverse of what I’d imagined. Trump didn’t lose; he won. The Republican Party isn’t undergoing some sort of reckoning over what it believes; his branch of the Republican Party has taken control. Most troubling, perhaps, is that rather than reassert themselves, the moderate Republicans have almost all rolled over entirely.”

“Trump has turned out to be far, far worse than I imagined. He has instituted policies so right wing they make Ronald Reagan, for whom I worked, look like a liberal Democrat.”

Priebus Keeps Tight Grip on RNC

Politico: “Priebus, who led the RNC from 2011 until he assumed the White House job earlier this year, has so far given little autonomy to his successor, Ronna Romney McDaniel, with one senior Republican operative close to the White House saying Priebus’ control over the RNC is ‘total and complete.'”

“Priebus wants to be continually updated on fundraising numbers, potential candidates for office and polling numbers, according to one strategist with knowledge of the RNC.”