On Friday March 24, 2017, nothing happened. This is both absolutely false and the literal truth.
On that Friday, President Donald Trump had pressured the U.S. Congress to vote on a healthcare bill that would repeal Obamacare and replace it with a bill that anyone with eyes would know was inferior. Even conservative senators and news pundits started calling it Obamacare Lite. The Republicans didn’t have the votes, but Trump threatened that if Congress did not repeal Obamacare now, he would not only “come after you” and threaten that they would lose their seats in 2018, but he would make everyone keep Obamacare, as if he was holding the country hostage. “Oh no, please don’t make us keep Obamacare,” said the 20 million people currently enrolled in it.
In what was a sensational headline, multiple media outlets reported that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan had “rushed” to the White House to inform Trump that in their last ditch effort hours before the vote, they did not have enough support.
The encroaching reality that this bill might be pushed through anyway, in spite of everyone’s best interests as nothing more than a means to get rid of Obamacare, was terrifying. But what alleviated that fear was the thought that Trump would lose. He was overconfident and impatient, and he demanded that this failing pile of garbage (as Trump might put it) go to vote anyway, and he would get savaged. Ooh the sweet justice that would be, to see Trump and Ryan humiliated on the stage they built for themselves, carrying their head in their hands as they explained to everyone why their promise to repeal Obamacare failed.
But none of that happened. Trump and Ryan pulled the bill from a vote at the last minute (which is apparently a thing you can do). Then Donald Trump got on the phone with a reporter at The Washington Post, and he blamed Democrats.
It was Democrats who didn’t offer a single vote for what was obviously a great piece of legislation. According to Trump, Paul Ryan did nothing wrong, nor did the Republicans who didn’t back down from their principles. Now Trump is perfectly happy to allow Obamacare to explode, and rather than try and solve the problem himself, he’ll just claim the I-told-you-so victory, even though it will never actually come.
What’s firstly frustrating is that Trump remains petulant in refusing to say he’s sorry or ever admit he’s wrong. This should be his lowest moment, and if he really tells it like it is, he should be honest about what went wrong and promise to fix it. He should be gracious in defeat and be a bigger person by not being a sore loser. But we all know Trump is incapable of that. Instead, everything he said to the Post is more lies, more spin, more selling a subpar product and false reality, and everyone knows it.
But even more frustrating is that for millions of Americans who still support him, they’re perfectly fine with that. And now we’re back to square one, to normalcy. The media looks at his lies and knows this is nothing new. He’s going to keep lying. He’s going to keep making up stories. Meanwhile, liberals will tweet more gifs at Mike Huckabee and MAGAs will go back to rolling their eyes and explaining what Trump really meant. It’s only been a few months, but the vicious cycle repeats itself again and again.
The media would like to believe that Trump and his supporters live in some alternate reality. But neither he nor they are stupid. They just don’t care, which might just be the motto of Trumpcare. They’ll make the story whatever they want it to be, and the rest is just Fake News. Trump’s supporters and every Republican who was willing to go along with this God awful healthcare ploy are complicit in Trump’s agenda to stick it to liberals and erase Obama’s agenda no matter the cost or what any of it means in reality.
In my last rant about Trump, I likened this to Trump and Mike Pence literally taking a sword and using it to cut through a fake, Styrofoam cake that was symbolic for everything Obama ever stood for. They would do so regardless of the consequences or whether it made any sense at all, and MAGAs are more than willing to see that vision through.
So far, a few people who voted for Trump are having buyer’s remorse. There are heartbreaking stories of families torn apart as a result of Trump’s draconian deportation policies. Others are balking at plans to cut programs like Meals on Wheels, after school programs or the National Endowment for the Arts. And poll numbers of support for his policies are gradually decreasing.
But none of this is a sign of truly shifting tides. The nation is still as polarized as ever. On pure observation, most MAGAs have decided they don’t care about Trump’s Russia ties. They don’t mind that he’s played golf about a dozen times in just a few months or spent more money in trips to Mar-A-Lago than the Obama family spent in a year. It’s not even that they believe Trump to be innocent or above reproach. They hear the “fake news,” and it just doesn’t bother them. If it does, they’re keeping their mouths shut.
So what I want to know is, what happens when the Trump bubble breaks, and everyone who supports him starts turning against him? What does that even look like?
I have a number of Facebook friends who lived through Watergate, who can sniff familiarities between now and when Richard Nixon was in office. They seem to think they know what’s coming, but I wonder if anyone can really imagine it. At this point, it seems like something truly terrible would have to happen before people get jolted back to their senses and realize this man was a crook and a charlatan all along. Do I want to know what that event would be before everyone agrees a line was crossed?
But scarier still, what if that day never comes? What if all the potential illegal bombshells about Trump and Russia come to light and no one on the Right cares? What if his full tax returns are released and any illegality and questionable ethics just get swept under the rug? What if those “Apprentice” blooper reels or the “golden showers” tapes finally come out and conservatives still convince themselves it’s not that bad? And worst yet, what happens when the next terrorist attack hits American soil, and all of his supporters are there to help him consolidate power?
We can debate whether Trump is acting like a dictator, but it’s a moot point when he has enough people treating him like he’s King. Healthcare should’ve been the straw that broke the camel’s back, but instead nothing happened. Now I fear what actually happens next.