Donald Trump’s two major initiatives to date have failed spectacularly, and Democrats have yet to cast a vote. Instead, the courts put his travel bans on hold and the Republicans defeated their own health-care plan. When the bully loses a fight or two, it can be liberating for everyone else in the schoolyard. It can also be liberating for the bully, and maybe losing will lead Trump to reassess his approach to governing. Only time and the tweets will tell.
But his shrunken stature gives others the chance to work together for what we once called the common good: health care, for example. David Brooks, who is no fan of Obamacare, captured the ugliness of a Republican bill that had “no overarching vision . . . on how to reform health care or even an organizing thought about how to improve the lives of voters.” In an example of democracy at its worst, “politics [drove] the substance, not the other way around” – and with it “the Republican leadership [set] an all-time new land speed record for forgetting where you came from.”
Its unmourned death presents an opportunity for members of both parties to focus on the problem of health care. For that to happen, Democrats must see the GOP fiasco as a moment to cheer, but not a time to gloat. And for all those freed from Trump’s vindictive leadership, now is the time to stand up, but not to pile on. Surely there are some in Congress who want the American people to have decent and affordable health care.