Public Response Roundup: Healthcare, Sessions, Trump Jr, Transgender Troops

Hello all,

Since we’ve managed to get through half a day without any major headlines, I thought we’d try a different angle today: examining the public response to the major events of this week and last, particularly among Republicans. There are two good reasons to do this. First, impeachment, removal, and election outcomes all begin in the court of public opinion– Presidents and legislators with high approval ratings do not often find their offices in jeopardy; public opinion, therefore, serves as an important predictor of the future political landscape. Second, because when “Breaking News” is an hourly event, it is difficult to examine events with the level of nuance their gravity demands.

Please note, the events listed here are presented in no particular order.

Healthcare Bill Fails in the Senate:

Susan Collins (D-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (D-AK) are among the only popular GOP Senators returning home this weekend. Both received displays of gratitude at their home airports from constituents carrying signs applauding the death of the repeal attempt.

Meanwhile, the remaining Republican senators should be grateful for majority leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) decision to shorten the August recess– originally for the purpose of continuing work on the ACA repeal. They face ire from right-leaning constituents from both ends of the spectrum: some are furious at their representatives’ failed effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act as promised, and many more who are livid that those who claim to represent their interests were attempting to compromise their access to care. In light of the ACA’s jump in approval ratings in the first few months of Trump’s presidency, one can only imagine how pleasant town hall meetings will be for the likes of Mitch McConnell (if he holds any).

Regardless, the majority of Americans recently polled want the GOP to move on from healthcare reform, leaving the ACA intact. It is unclear how many of those view it as a losing battle for republicans versus those who genuinely prefer the current system, but regardless– the people have spoken, and if these legislators wish to keep their jobs in the next election cycle they would do well to listen.

Jeff Sessions:

Intriguingly, in spite of an absolutely contemptuous performance of a testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee a few weeks ago, Jeff Sessions’ stock is rising among the public– or at least those on the right. This is particularly interesting because this particular voting bloc generally does not believe that there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in regards to the 2016 election, and yet their support for Sessions is on the rise following recent attacks by the President,  drawn by Sessions’ choice to recuse himself from the Russian investigation.

Sessions’ former colleagues in the Senate have been particularly vocal, suggesting that they will block any Presidential attempt to replace the attorney general. This is one area where liberals and conservatives should agree then: keeping Sessions in his office is the absolute best case scenario for everyone– except those whose illegal acts could be uncovered by Robert Mueller’s investigation. For Republicans, Sessions represents party loyalty and integrity, even if he has little to no influence with the President since igniting his ire. For Democrats, his recusal is the only thing ensuring Mueller maintains his office– Sessions’ replacement would not be recused from the Russian investigation, and would therefore have the full authority to fire Mueller (a promise that one would imagine would have to be made before Trump would even consider nominating a candidate).

So, with Republicans and Democrats on and off of Capitol Hill making it clear that the firing of Sessions would represent a “red line,” and the Attorney General apparently voicing no intent of tendering his resignation, it seems likely he will be maintaining his office for the time being, and this is a good thing.

Donald Trump Junior: 

In spite of the President’s assertions that “almost anyone would have taken” a meeting offering damning information on an opposing candidate from a hostile foreign power as standard presidential election procedure, the public is not convinced: the majority of people surveyed said that the meeting was “inappropriate,” with only 23 percent calling it “appropriate.”

There really is not much to say here: Donald Trump Jr. published evidence that he had colluded with a foreign power to influence our election, and is not presently awaiting trial for treason. That alone should be astonishing.

Transgender Military Service:

In yet another backfiring popularity grab, President Trump’s announcement that transgender individuals would no longer be allowed to serve in the military in any capacity is also unpopular with most Americans. In a survey performed shortly after the President’s tweets, 58 percent of adults agreed that transgender and gender-non-conforming individuals should have the equal opportunity to serve their country as their cisgender counterparts, with an additional 15 percent having no opinion.

This, too, seems like a no-brainer. The obvious fact that the Constitution guarantees to all people “equal protection under the law” and that any attempt to prevent trans* individuals from serving is a violation of that right aside, the United States military is always attempting to recruit more people into its service. This is tactically ignorant and ethnically abhorrent. Enough said.

So there it is: the Republican establishment as well as the general public are increasingly wary of the President’s agenda. Those who remain loyal to upholding it are behind held accountable by the people they profess to represent. As long as this trend continues, the goals of the left should be fairly easy to attain: primarily, success in the 2018 elections.

— This is the ALF, signing off.



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