If one pays any attention to the news emanating constantly from Washington D.C., it may have become a bit confusing and overwhelming in the past week. At least for me, someone who tries to stay reasonably informed, it has taken a large amount of effort to understand the basic facts of the situation. One may have noticed that Donald Trump’s approval rating has sunk even lower, hovering now at around 36 percent. One may have also noticed the complete failure that was the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Turns out the party of “No” cannot quite figure out how to become the party of “Yes, if.” Finally, Democrats of all sorts are calling on Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, to recuse himself from any investigations regarding White House ties to Russia. Now if you read any of that and still think, “Things are going fine for Donald Trump,” maybe you should reconsider.
Thirty-six percent is no joke. But it displays something. There is a base to Donald Trump, and that base has been reached and developed. Despite the 36 percent applying to the country as a whole, Donald Trump’s approval rating among Republicans remains around 80 percent. That is a large difference. So at what point do Republicans throw Trump under the bus to make amends with their constituents? We know that many elections in competitive districts rely on the swing voters, who change their vote based on real indicators and ability, and not so much on partisan allegiance. And we have seen some Republicans begin to buck the trend of paying homage to the Freedom Caucus (which does not publish its membership), and move closer to center. Ted Poe in Texas is one such figure. Other members, including San Antonio’s west side’s Will Hurd, is another who has to toe the line between right of center and center. And we are seeing more and more Republicans from states Hillary Clinton won, such as Virginia and Washington, distance themselves from Trump.
Republicans seem to be having a governing problem. The one main agenda item they had from the past seven years, the repeal and/or replacement of Obamacare, has failed dramatically. Many thought that the fight would take place in the Senate, but the measure failed to even come to a vote in the House of Representatives. That is not a good look for anyone, but especially not for Donald Trump, who blamed House Democrats for the failure. The party of “No” has finally caught the car, and the car is still moving. Republicans have the votes, they have the majority in both chambers of Congress, yet they are still unable to pass any major legislation. The next fight seems to be tax reform, but with such a clear division present in the Republican party, with members who have to seek reelection and a seemingly ineffectual Speaker of the House, it remains to be seen whether or not it will pass.
It remains to be seen when the levee will burst, or if it will burst at all. But if it does, there will be a lot of cleanup to be done. And Donald Trump does not seem like a great fit for rebuilding, however much he may talk about his business.