In his 80-minute speech last night at the rally in support of Luther Strange in the Alabama US senate primary race, Donald Trump railed at those senators who were balking at supporting the Graham-Cassidy bill, the latest Republican push in their attempt to undermine health care for many Americans. There was one item that stuck out at me, though, and that was when he said:
Speaking in Alabama, he said senators from his party who opposed the repeal lacked “the guts to vote for it.”
Senator John McCain dealt the Trump administration’s efforts a potentially fatal blow when he said he could not vote for it “in good conscience”.
President Trump said his criticism was “unexpected” and “terrible”.
“They gave me a list of 10 people that were absolute no’s,” he said. “John McCain was not on the list so that was a totally unexpected thing, terrible, honestly terrible.”
He was given ten absolute no votes? That is way more than I would have guessed.
Trump went on to describe his attempts to court senators to vote with him on undermining health care, saying “I’m on the phone screaming at people all day long for weeks”, which I am sure they enjoyed. Is that the persuasion tactic that he recommends The Art of the Deal, the title of his own book that he boasts so much about? Or has he switched to the tactics in the 1974 book by Robert Ringer titled Winning Through Intimidation? Given that the Republicans have an authoritarian mindset, they are the kind of people who can be cowed into going along by being yelled at by an authority figure
The results of Tuesday’s Alabama primary could play a role in the health care vote. If Strange can pull off a victory, that might have Republican senators fearing Trump’s personal power and make them less likely to defy him. If Strange loses despite Trump’s support, that might weaken his clout.