Donald Trump and Steve Bannon are politically impotent.Trump is spinning this morning:
The president and his former grand strategist threw considerable weight behind Roy Moore, the polarizing Republican Senate candidate in Alabama. For the second time this year, the state that gave Mr. Trump crucial early support during the presidential campaign — and his first senatorial endorsement — has rejected the candidate Mr. Trump endorsed for the Senate.
The reason I originally endorsed Luther Strange (and his numbers went up mightily), is that I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election. I was right! Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2017
He has opened up a very real, if still perhaps unlikely, path for the GOP’s biggest legislative priority to fail. The worst-case scenario for Republicans — and the only plausible way for opponents to stop a dramatically unpopular tax proposal — has revealed itself.Given the party's maniacal focus on tax cuts for the rich, it's more likely than not that they'll find a way to ram it through, but as Scott details, things could get sticky: Once Jones is seated, they will have no votes to spare, and Sen. Susan Collins has made demands for bills to stabilize Obamacare that right-wingers in the House want no part of.
Roy Moore is thus far refusing to concede, but no one outside his camp seems to be taking him seriously. Even Mike Huckabee says it's time: "Roy Moore won’t concede; says will wait on God to speak. God wasn’t registered to vote in AL but the ppl who voted did speak and it wasn’t close enough for recount. In elections everyone does NOT get a trophy. I know first hand but it’s best to exit with class."
The GOP’s margin for error just shrunk by half. That’s a pretty big deal.
As it was, GOP leaders in the Senate couldn’t hold enough seats to pass Obamacare repeal. The closest they came was on repeal legislation in July, when they lost three of their own ― Susan Collins of Maine, John McCain of Arizona and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
Some Republicans are hoping to revisit repeal next year, figuring they could flip one of those three to yes. Now, with Jones and the diminished GOP majority, they’d have to flip at least two of them. That’s a lot more difficult, especially since none of those three have shown any sign of wavering on their core commitment to preserve the program’s Medicaid expansion and protections for people with pre-existing conditions.