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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

After giving Sen. John McCain due credit for his vote that helped kill “skinny repeal,” his comments accompanying the vote that Obamacare received no Republican votes in the Senate gloss over the reality that Democrats, unlike their Republican colleagues last week, made an honest effort to give their adversaries a chance to help shape the legislation. It’s not like Obama didn’t bend over backwards to try and create  bipartisan support for the bill. Further, the Affordable Care Act passed the Senate with 60 votes, an overwhelming majority, even if they were all Democrats. In stark contrast, the Republicans are gunning to repeal and/or replace the law by just 51 percent.

Hats off to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for doing a good job of keeping Democrats unified against all versions of Trumpcare/Obamacare repeal. As Jennifer Steinhauer explains in her article, “How Schumer Held Democrats Together Through a Health Care Maelstrom” in The New York Times, “Democrats give Mr. Schumer — song-belting, frequently badgering, endlessly frenzied — credit for his tireless attention to senators from every faction, and for quiet outreach to Republicans who he thinks could be partners down the line…He has worked carefully — far more than Mr. Reid, many Democrats agreed — to be almost relentlessly inclusive, talking with them at all hours of the day, over every manner of Chinese noodle, on even tiny subjects, to make them feel included in strategy…”

And while we’re thanking everyone for blocking ‘skinny repeal,’ let’s not forget Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono, who made sure she got to the senate and voted against the GOP bill — despite having just completed surgery for kidney cancer. “I am fighting kidney cancer,” said Hirono, “and I’m just so grateful that I had health insurance so that I could concentrate on the care that I needed rather than how the heck I was going to afford the care that would probably save my life…Where is your compassion? Where is the care that you showed me when I was diagnosed with my illness?” Hirono asked before the Senate narrowly voted down the measure. “I find it hard to believe that we can sit here and vote on a bill that is going to hurt millions and millions of people in our country. We are better than that.” — from Rebecca Shapiro’s HuffPo article, “Sen. Mazie Hirono Holds Back Tears During Impassioned Health Care Plea.”

For an indication of how popular single-payer health care reform has become with Democratsin congress, read David Weigel’s “In GOP’s repeal failure, Democrats find a potential game plan,” in which he notes, “On Thursday, as the repeal effort headed for the cliff, Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) needled Democratic senators — 10 of whom face reelection next year in states Trump won — by introducing the text of a single-payer bill sponsored by Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.). For the first time, most House Democrats have co-sponsored Conyers’s bill; 43 members of the Senate minority, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), voted “present,” while five voted “no” on the Daines amendment.”

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