Mike Huckabee, July 21, 2017
In light of the Republican Senate’s abject failure to keep its promise to repeal Obamacare and come up with a better, market-based system, President Trump said that we’ll just let that program continue on its current death spiral. He said, “I’m not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it.” But he predicted that as it failed on its own, Democrats would come around to working with Republicans to replace it.
I think he might be too optimistic, or maybe he’s yet to figure out that Washington doesn’t work rationally, like the business world. Democrats know (and count on their media allies to hammer home) that voters expected Republicans to do something about this awful program. With them having failed to act, if it goes under and leaves people without coverage, most will blame whoever was in charge when it happened. This is how politics works (case in point: the mortgage meltdown was caused primarily by policies initiated by Carter and Clinton, but it happened when Bush was in office, so Democrats still blame him for it and get away with it.)
Republicans should disabuse themselves of the notion that Democrats will humble themselves and come with hat-in-hand to work with Republicans to save Obamacare from collapse. Obamacare was designed to collapse, so it could be replaced with single-payer government health care. They expected Hillary to be in office when that happened and sign it into law. They never expected Trump would win, but they also probably never expected that Republicans could win the House, Senate and White House and still fail to do what they’d been promising for seven years. If it collapses in 2018, just in time for Democrats to blame it on Republicans before the next election, that’s exactly what Democrats will do.
Yes, I know it will be tricky to run for office on the premise that “the people who were elected to fix the unfixable disaster of a health care program we created failed, so put us back in charge!” But as illogical as that sounds, I’ve seen similar appeals work, especially when the Democrats have so much help, not only from the media, but from their opponents.