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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Trump Pays a Price for Lying

Caitlin Huey-Burns writes at RCP:
"A lot of Democrats don't trust Trump and don't trust the administration," Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan told RCP. "They've poisoned the well to try to actually bring the country back together and start finding things to work on together."

Ryan's northeast Ohio district encompasses areas of Youngstown and Warren, blue-collar bastions that helped to buoy Trump. While Trump lost Ryan's district, he outperformed Mitt Romney there by 10 points. Ryan challenged Nancy Pelosi earlier this year for House minority leader, arguing that the party had lost touch with its working-class constituents. But Ryan maintains Trump is "completely betraying" them with his hiring of Wall Street executives for his Cabinet and for backing an Obamacare replacement plan that the Congressional Budget Office said would disproportionally impact older and poorer Americans.
Josh Barro writes at Business Insider:
Often, a member of Congress agrees to vote for the president's pet piece of legislation, and the president promises to advance the member's favorite regulatory initiative, or to advocate another piece of legislation later, or to campaign for that member's reelection.
Trump might be making such promises. But because he has a decades-long reputation for reneging on his promises to counterparties, members are unlikely to trust Trump when he does so. This limits his negotiating toolbox; because Trump can't be trusted, his promises have to be made good in the bill text itself.
Trump's assurance that the bill's limitations — for example, its limited impact on insurance regulations under Obamacare — will be addressed through executive action and future legislation do not seem to be convincing enough of his party's own representatives to get this bill passed.
In a way, this is similar to the way Trump alienated mainstream banks with his reputation for not repaying debts, forcing him to seek increasingly creative means of financing his businesses. Screwing your partner in one deal makes it harder to get the next deal done.
There is an exception that proves the rule that side deals don't work for Trump.
One of the "no" votes who did flip to "yes" on the AHCA is Rep. Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania. Barletta's signature issue is illegal immigration (he's opposed), and he said he couldn't vote for the AHCA because he didn't have sufficient assurance that unauthorized immigrants wouldn't get insurance tax credits. Barletta changed his position once he was promised Trump would support his legislation to address the issue.
Trump can credibly promise to take punitive action toward unauthorized immigrants, because that is a passion of his. Beyond that, his lack of credibility is undermining his negotiating position.