Less than two weeks after the unveiling of the GOP Obamacare replacement, the party is already staring into the abyss.
The bill has had the worst rollout of any major piece of legislation in memory, and failure is very much an option. If the proposal falters, it will be a political debacle that could poison President Trump’s relationship with Congress for the duration.
That relationship is awkward and tenuous. It is an uneasy accommodation between a GOP Congress that would find a more natural partner in a President Rubio, Cruz or Bush, and a President Trump who would, presumably, be happier to work with Speaker Dave Brat — the populist congressman from Virginia — than with Speaker Paul Ryan.
This is a product of how the Republican sweep of 2016 was won on separate tracks. Trump tore up many Republican orthodoxies and went out and found a different way to unlock the electoral map, winning in the industrial Midwest. Congressional Republicans more or less stuck with the usual script, kept Trump at arm’s length, and held their majorities in the House and the Senate.