Vox Populi: A Public Sphere for Politics and Poetry
“We’re just getting started, folks.” —Indivisible Guide
While President Donald Trump on Saturday used a single tweet to tell the American people both “Do not worry!” and “Obamacare will explode,” the Trump resistance movement was being urged not to gloat over Friday’s “epic failure” of the Republicans’ attempt to pass their ‘slash and burn’ healthcare law but instead focus on organizing for the crucial battles ahead.
Acknowledging their defeat on healthcare (while fecklessly trying to blame Democrats), Trump and his team on Friday said they would now place their focus on passing a controversial budget package and moving ahead with a major tax reform plan. And with the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch still unattained, the president’s opponents—both in Congress and in the streets—were balancing their elation over Friday’s healthcare outcome with acknowledgement that much hard work remains.
While Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, told progressives, “Don’t gloat; get ready for round 2. Organize!” on Twitter, supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) were told, “We must be clear. This important victory against the Republican health care plan is not the end of our work. It is the beginning.”
A subsequent tweet from Sanders’ account said that with the Republican healthcare reform effort now in a state of collapse, it was now time for the Trump opposition movement to “take on a horrific Republican budget and efforts at ‘tax reform’ which means huge tax breaks to billionaires and corporations.”
Organizers with the Indivisible Guide, one of the main drivers of the nationwide grassroots resistance targeting congressional lawmakers, said made clear their vision for the upcoming fights with these five words: “We’re just getting started, folks.”
Appearing on All In With Chris Hayes on Friday night, documentary filmmaker and activist Michael Moore also said Democrats should not gloat, even though it was certainly “great news” that the millions of people who would have lost their healthcare under the GOP plan have for now been spared that result. But, said Moore, “This is the time that we have to double-down.”
Many people who voted for Trump and gave the Republicans the majority in Congress, said Moore, are beginning to realize how much they were lied to, but it’s up to the resistance movement to engage those people and Democratic lawmakers must prove that they can provide real and meaningful solutions on healthcare, the economy, and more.
As the Washington Post reports Saturday, nothing about Friday’s spectacular debacle on healthcare makes pushing the rest of the Trump agenda through any easier. In fact, it has not only given the anti-Trump movement a tremendous a lift, the policy implications of Trumpcare’s downfall are also significant:
The stunning collapse of the Republican health-care bill now imperils the rest of President Trump’s ambitious congressional agenda, with few prospects for quick victory on tax reform, construction projects or a host of other issues in the months ahead despite complete GOP control of government.
While Republicans broadly share the goal of Trump’s promised “big tax cuts,” the president will have to bridge many of the same divides within his own party that sunk the attempted overhaul of the Affordable Care Act. And without savings anticipated from the health-care bill, paying for the “massive” cuts Trump has promised for corporations and middle-class families becomes considerably more complicated.
Meanwhile, other marquee agenda items, including a $1 trillion investment in roads and other infrastructure and proposed crackdowns on both legal and illegal immigration, will require the support of Democrats, many of whom have been alienated by the highly partisan start to Trump’s tenure.
But just because it remains difficult, there was no sign from Republicans they had lost any of their appetite to tackle these items.
While Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) ackowledged that tax reform becomes more difficult without the nearly $1 trillion they tried to cut from future budgets by slashing healthcare, he indicated the GOP plan to give huge tax cuts to corporations and the nation’s wealthiest people would go forward.
“Yes this does make tax reform more difficult,” Ryan told reporters on Friday. “But it does not in any way make it impossible.”
Such sentiments likely helped fuel this response from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) who said that even though Friday was a “great day” for her constituents and “people across the country who depend on the Affordable Care Act,” she would not be “doing a touchdown dance” so long as the GOP remain “hell-bent on rigging the system for the rich and powerful.”
First published in Common Dreams. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.
Hundreds of people rallied at Federal Plaza in Chicago on March 23, 2017, to signal disapproval of Republican-led efforts to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act. (Photo: Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune)