Over the weekend, Donald Trump threatened not to endorse any Republican Senators who might dare to vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill. It was bizarre to see Trump go to such desperate lengths to try to stop something as simple (and seemingly inevitable) as an infrastructure package from going through. It’s also turned out to be an embarrassing swing and miss for him.
The infrastructure bill passed the Senate earlier today in overwhelming fashion, with nearly twenty Republican Senators voting in favor of it. So much for them being afraid of defying Trump on this bill.
Of course the infrastructure bill was probably always going to pass, and by the time Trump made his threat a few days ago, it was almost definitely going to pass. So Trump wasted his proverbial ammo on something he wasn’t going to be able to stop anyway, and now he looks like a fool for having tried. Worse for him, now that so many Republican Senators have defied him on this and won’t face any real consequences for it, they may be emboldened to defy him on other things going forward.
To be clear, it’s not that all these Republican Senators suddenly grew a conscience. In general they’re only ever in it for themselves. But they made a calculation today that being able to take credit for the bipartisan infrastructure bill will do more to boost their reelection odds than any lost Trump endorsement might do to harm their reelection odds.
Notably, this comes shortly after a Trump-endorsed candidate lost a U.S. House special election by seven points to a competing Republican. Perhaps more Republican politicians are finally realizing what the facts have spelled out all along: a Trump endorsement wasn’t of much help back when he was still in office, and is of almost no value at all now that Trump is in the wilderness.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report