Gearing Up for 2020

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Repeal Only?

Can you believe Mitch McConnell would introduce a “repeal only” Trumpcare bill that throws an additional 32 million people off their health care and replaces it with nothing?

Can you believe Trump ended U.S. support for the moderate Syrian opposition – giving Putin everything he wanted – and got nothing in return?

Can you believe Trump threw Jeff Sessions under the bus – saying he never would have hired him had he known that Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation – after Sessions sacrificed his good name and every shred of his dignity defending Trump?

Can you believe Sean Spicer’s claiming that Team Trump’s Russian meeting involved nothing but adoption and sanctions after Trump Jr. had already admitted that the Russians asked for the meeting in order to provide damaging information about Hillary Clinton? Where has Spicer been for the past two months – hiding in the bushes?

Hits and Misses – the week’s best and worst moves

Hit of the Week: Robert Mueller’s reported expansion of the Russia probe to focus on Trump’s business deals with Russia. If confirmed, this would dramatically raise the stakes of the investigation and begin to explain why Trump keeps trying to please Putin, even as it costs him politically.

Miss of the Week: Mitch McConnell’s abject failure to pass a health care bill – or even to put together a bill that had a chance of passing. It all began with 13 white men meeting in secret, and it went downhill from there.

House Race of the Week

Of the seven endangered House Republicans in California, Ed Royce is probably the safest, having been reelected in 2016 with 57% of the vote. But Clinton won his district by 9 points, and Royce has toed the Trump line all year (97.4% of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight.com). As a result, the Cook Political Report has changed its rating for this district from “likely Republican” to “leans Republican” – still a tough pull, but getting better all the time.

Finally…

I was deeply saddened this week to learn that Senator John McCain had been stricken with glioblastoma, the brain cancer that killed our mutual friend Ted Kennedy. Like anyone who ever served with John, I have long admired his patriotism and personal courage, even though we didn’t always get along. As I wrote in The Art of Tough, “John and I have had our ups and downs…. I never know whether he is going to give me a hug or the evil eye, be hostile or endearing, bark or smile. John McCain is complicated. No colleague comes close.” After all the ups and downs, what remains is affection and admiration. He’s in a tough fight now, but if anyone can win a fight against cancer, it’s John McCain with his great reservoir of strength and courage.