Now that the Democratic party is so fractured it seems we may never again unite, it gives one a sick sort of satisfaction to see some real dissent and disagreement sown into the Republican party over the monumental failure of the AHCA.
Though President Trump appeared magnanimous in the moments after the bill was pulled, refusing to point the finger of blame at anyone but the Democrats (good try), behind the scenes, the rest of the Republican party was rushing to take sides.
Even before the bill was officially pulled, those on Trump’s side began to subtly impugn Speaker Paul Ryan, poising him to take the fall when the bill failed to pass.
Not to be outdone, those on Ryan’s side began to pepper media appearances with characterizations of the POTUS as “the closer,” making it harder for the President to distance himself from the healthcare bill.
Others turned their vitriol on former RNC chair and current White House Chief of Staff. Others still focused their ire on the Congressional Freedom Caucus, a group of far-right Republicans who provided the strongest resistance to the legislation on the right.
On a smaller scale, Republican congressman told sources that they were offended and put off by the bossy behavior of both Stephen Bannon and President Trump who, on separate occasions, attempted to coerce and bully conservative congressman into supporting the bill.
Bannon told a group of conservatives that their vote was not a “debate,” and that they had “no choice” whether or not to support it.
One member of the Freedom Caucus replied, “You know, the last time someone ordered me to something, I was 18 years old. And it was my daddy. And I didn’t listen to him, either,” said one member of the caucus.”
Besides a small, early blaming of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer by President Trump – a fire and a miss, by all accounts – Democrats emerged from this healthcare debacle scot-free. Mostly, this was an entirely inter-Republican argument, and one for which they only had themselves to blame.
Unfortunately for the Republican party, it does not seem that that deep division will dissipate anytime soon, and what was once a carefully orchestrated facade of agreement has been reduced to the bitter infighting we have come to expect from the Democratic party.
For Trump, this is a dangerous position to place himself in, alienating the very figures who work to insulate him from Democrats in office as well as a growing, disapproving American public. As Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz put it, if Republicans lose their majority in 2018 through division and failures to achieve their goals, Trump’s head will be on the chopping block next.