In politics, there's horse-trading, influence peddling, arm twisting and other unsavory practices to get the sausage made. It's not pretty but it's the way things get done in a democracy.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump isn't going to just let go of Sen. Lisa Murkowski's no vote Tuesday against debating Obamacare repeal.
Early Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter to express displeasure with Murkowski's vote. By that afternoon, each of Alaska's two Republican senators had received a phone call from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke letting them know the vote had put Alaska's future with the administration in jeopardy.
We do not elect a president so he can use the power of the federal government to exact revenge on his enemies. But this is the Trump Error and now the vast power of the executive branch is in the tiny hands of the pettiest, most vindictive person to ever squat in the Oval Office. This is precisely the kind of corruption of our institutes we were warned about when Trump was illegitimately elected.
But this particular kind of abuse of power probably won't work quite the way Trump is hoping, especially in a state as fiercely independent as Alaska.
If he follows through on his threats (and that's a big "if" since he's tried to bully Republicans before and they laughed at him), that would send a clear signal to the GOP that it's better to play ball with the toddler-in-chief lest their state also be punished. But there's a fundamental truth Trump is ignoring: Americans really really don't like bullies and nothing would flip a red state like Alaska to the blue column quicker than this kind of heavy-handed big government. Remember, the right threw a fit when Obama tired to use the carrot of government funding to get them to accept the Medicaid expansion, how do you think they'll react when Trump kills thousands of jobs because Murkowski wouldn't vote to take Medicaid away?
Yes, Republicans voters love it when Trump bullies people they don't like but Alaska is not Those People, it's "real" America. Heck, Sarah Palin is from Alaska and she's as 'Murikan as it gets, don'tcha know?! It's not hard to imagine the very popular Murkowski running the following ad in a deep ominous voice:
"Donald Trump is punishing our state because Lisa Murkowski refuses to strip Alaskans of their healthcare. We voted to make America great again, we didn't vote for a tyrant. Stand with Murkowski and send Trump a message: Alaska won't be bullied."
Cue the uplifting patriotic music and Donald Trump loses Alaska in 2020.
Trump's authoritarian instincts served him well in the world of real estate. There, he could bribe, steal, extort and cheat with impunity. His money allowed him to sue anyone that got in his way until they surrendered or he could just pay off a politician or two to make his problems disappear. That's not going to work on entire states and if Alaskans start putting up a stink (and they will because it's Alaska and they don't like being told what to do), it's going to go poorly for Trump, not Murkowski.
There are 466 days left to the 2018 elections.
- This article kills fascists
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