Trumpcare went down in flames today as House Republicans failed to get enough votes to pass their own bill. There are a number of reasons why this happened but much of it boils down to the Republican Party being incapable of governing and Donald Trump being completely impotent as a leader. And while a very solid majority of the country will sleep easier knowing that Trump and his party were unable to repeal, much less replace, Obamacare, Donald Trump will go to bed tonight plotting his revenge.
If you'll recall, Trump is like a Bond super-villain minus the intelligence and sophistication:
At a speech in 2007 in Toronto, Trump railed against actor Rosie O'Donnell, recalling that he had recently said, "If she stopped looking in the mirror, I think she'd stop being so depressed." He then expanded to his deeper message: "The point is, one of the things I say later is…get even. When somebody screws you, you screw them back in spades. And I really mean it. I really mean it. You've gotta hit people hard. And it's not so much for that person. It's other people watch." For Trump, acts of revenge are an essential way for a person to demonstrate he or she is tough.
Virgin zillionaire Richard Branson recalled the first time he met Trump:
Even before the starters arrived he began telling me about how he had asked a number of people for help after his latest bankruptcy and how five of them were unwilling to help. He told me he was going to spend the rest of his life destroying these five people.
Trump will find someone to retaliate against. Both his enormous ego and his all-important image are on the line. He cannot let this pass. He should be going after the Republicans in the House that snubbed him. But Trump already threatened them with vengeance if they didn't fall in line. The results were... unimpressive. The problem is that the House Freedom Caucus, the extreme right wing of the party, is completely immune to bullying from party leadership. What are they going to do? Primary them from the left? These are Representatives from gerrymandered blood red districts filled with hardcore Fox News viewers. They only answer to the few hundred elderly white people that control the primary in their district.
Lacking the ability to hurt the HFC in any meaningful way, Trump may look elsewhere for his payback. But who? Three immediate options present themselves:
- Liberals - Trump may decide that liberals need to be taught a lesson for celebrating his failure. He's already shown a tendency to do things for no other reason than it annoys the left, making him the world's premier troll. If he goes this route, look for nonsensical executive orders in the near future, or rather, more nonsensical executive orders that attack the LGBT community. Or authorizes more pipelines. Or gives the police more freedom to murder minorities. Or deregulates polluters. Or, or, or, or. The possibilities for petty retaliation are endless when you're the president.
- Democrats - As the Democrats deservedly gloat over the GOP's utter failure to govern, Trump may decide that they've hurt his feelings so they have to pay the price. In order to "prove" he was right that Obamacare is on the brink of collapse, look for Trump to severely undermine the law with executive orders. At the same time, look for HHS Secretary Tom Price to set the law on fire with directives that make no sense unless the goal is to force the ACA into a catastrophic failure. We will then be told to blame the Democrats for all of the chaos in the healthcare markets.
- The Middle East - Like most strongman dictators, Trump will look to pick a fight he can easily win to bolster his precious image. Nothing distracts the country from domestic policy issues like a good war in another country. With the most powerful military in human history at his command, Trump may decide that it's time to rain a little "freedom" down on some dark skinned foreigners with funny names. His base will eat it up because they love the idea of dead Muslims and "hard power".
The absolute best case scenario is, instead of seeking revenge, Trump rewrites his extremely malleable memory so the defeat belongs solely to Republicans and his hands are clean. This works because Trump does not actually consider himself a Republican so their defeat doesn't reflect on him at all. At least that's how his administration might spin it, thus forgoing the necessary retaliation.
We should only be so lucky.