Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is a lot of things, most of them negative. But he’s not stupid. Nor is he oblivious to the real world political ramifications of the choices he makes in his leadership role. So while his behavior regarding the AHCA TrumpCare bill in the Senate are destructive to his own party, it’s not that he doesn’t know it’s destructive – it’s just he’s no longer playing for his own team.
Not to be overly presumptive about it, but the Republicans are going to lose the Senate in the 2018 midterms. Whenever a new President takes office, there’s always blowback against that same political party in the first midterms, regardless of how well or poorly that President is received. Donald Trump is historically unpopular, meaning that the 2018 midterms will be fantastically ugly for the Republican Party. They only have a three seat majority in the Senate, which is as good as gone.
In other words, as of the 2018 midterms, Mitch McConnell will no longer be the Senate Majority Leader one way or the other. But he’s not up for reelection until 2020, which will coincide with the next Presidential election, and could be an entirely different equation. So he’s going to lose his title in 2018 no matter what he does. But on the other hand, he won’t lose his Senate seat in 2018 no matter what he does.
So there’s no reason for McConnell to do what’s best for his own party when it comes to the AHCA. He might as well try to ram it through in secret. The Republican Party will pay the price for it in the midterms, but he won’t personally pay that price. So he might as well make his wealthy donors happy by delivering them a horrific health care plan that makes them wealthier. Of course the Senate Republicans may will kill off his terrible AHCA plan. But he has nothing to lose by trying to ram it through. After all, he’s one of the few Republicans who wouldn’t suffer.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report