RealClearPolicy Newsletters: Original Articles

A Majority in Name Only

A Majority in Name Only
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Dear Reader —

It’s no secret that Congress is unpopular. With an approval rating hovering around 14 percent, the Constitution’s First Branch is stubbornly dysfunctional, with a Republican majority unable to deliver on its myriad — if sometimes outsized — promises to its constituents. Whatever the cause, it’s not just ordinary voters who are unhappy; Republican donors are reportedly closing their wallets out of frustration, especially after the GOP’s failure to repeal Obamacare.

Mr. Trump’s 39 percent approval rating, however unimpressive, is far higher than Congress’s — something that may have factored into the president’s controversial decision to “pivot” last month. Unable to effectuate significant policy through the legislature, the White House seems to have decided it need not cast its congressional lot with GOP leadership. 

Independent of the policy merits, tax reform thus remains imperative for congressional Republicans, politically speaking. This is all the more so given that President Trump has signaled a willingness to reach across the aisle, if need be. If they fail again, political energy and money could be redirected elsewhere, perhaps toward the Bannon wing. In that case, the party of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell may find itself with a majority in name only.

What happens then — whether the GOP “breaks apart” or simply transforms further — may ultimately depend on the outcome of 2018. One wonders how the so-called establishment could have ever believed it would wag the dog after November 2016.

These are some of the many issues taken up at RealClearPolicy over the past week. Below you will find just a few highlights.

— M. Anthony Mills, editor | RealClearPolicy


The Costly Incentive of Sanders’ Medicare-for-All Bill. In our own pages, Jack Hipkins argues that despite its appealing tagline, universal health care doesn’t measure up to economic reality.

Will the Republican Party Break Apart? Washington Monthly’s Martin Longman considers whether Trump’s rise combined with congressional dysfunction will produce a schism within the GOP.

In Push to Reshape Medicaid, States Must Put Patients First. Also in our pages, four Consumers for Quality Care board members urge Massachusetts’ governor to protect Medicaid beneficiaries as he requests federal waivers for the program. 

I Used to Think Gun Control Was the Answer. In The Washington Post, Leah Libresco spotlights data that suggest gun-control policies are ineffective.

The Children in Puerto Rico Need Our Help. In RealClearPolicy, Cristina Novoa contends that a refusal to help the young impacted by the storms “is not only cruel, but unpatriotic.”

Educators, Take Note: Generation Z Cares About Big Questions. In RealClearEducation, I consider the declining value placed on the liberal arts.

To Curb Illegal Immigration, Promote Economic Stability. Also in RealClearPolicy, Andrew Langer makes a case for lending economic support to Central American countries such as Guatemala.

Lowering Hepatitis C Treatment Prices. In RealClearHealth, Thomas Hemphill calls for accelerating the FDA review process and bolstering market competition.

Congress, Pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. In our own pages, Maureen Ferguson applauds a new GOP bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The Time to Pass the Dream Act Is Now. Also in our pages, Jaime Rangel urges Congress to make protections for “Dreamers” permanent.

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