Is This News? (07/18/17)

If you’re a Republican or from the Trump administration, there’s not much good news for you in the beginning of this week. Just sayin’…



Much like the animals in “Animal Farm”; all news is equal, but some news is more equal than others! In this edition of “Is This News?”, we look at how Sen. John McCain’s medical absence effects the GOP’s plans to pass healthcare reform and President Donald Trump “SAD!!” approval ratings.



The New York Times is reporting that Sen. John McCain’s eye surgery could be more serious than originally expected. Due to the procedure’s recovery time, it potentially could keep Sen. McCain absent from the Senate for about one to two weeks. Considering McCain was one of the crucial votes in getting the Senate GOP’s Better Care Reconciliation Act (or BCRA) passed, that puts even more uncertainty over the Republicans’ chances of passing a comprehensive healthcare bill. Even though the answer is fairly obvious, is McCain’s absence in the Senate news?  


It’s news because of the potential impact that Sen. John McCain’s absence could have to the Republicans chances of passing healthcare reform.


The reason being, there’s a very good chance that Sen. McCain’s absence in the Senate could have killed the Senate GOP’s chances in passing their healthcare legislation. Over the last two weeks, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been trying to gather the 50 votes needed to get the BCRA to pass. However with Sen. McCain’s medical absence, the GOP is only one vote away from the BCRA not passing!


Originally, Sen. McConnell had planned on taking a vote on the BCRA this week, to if nothing else, have Senate Republicans finally move pass the healthcare debate and on to other topics like the tax code or raising the debt ceiling. Now suddenly, all this looks to be in serious doubt! Adding to that frustration, Republican Senators will have to slog on for another week or two having to answer questions regarding the BCRA, which could convince other senators of defecting from the controversial bill. If that happens, the BCRA could be as good as dead.


There is no two ways about it, for Republicans (and the Trump administration), this week’s BCRA vote was crucial for their legislative goals to move forward. McCain’s medical absence now puts most of those goals, particularly passing healthcare legislation that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), in major jeopardy!


[UPDATE: Since we posted this story, the BCRA looks to be dead due to two other Republican Senators (Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas) opposing the Republican healthcare bill.]



A Washington Post-ABC News Poll has reported that President Donald Trump’s approval rating has dropped to 36%. For a reference point, it was 48% back in February of this year. While yesterday morning, in a series of tweets, President Trump shrugged that the recent poll numbers as “fake news.” So, is this new poll news?


While it is news, the poll really shouldn’t surprise anyone.


However, before we move forward, a quick note. President Trump’s dismissal of the Washington Post-ABC News Poll as “fake news” is just not true! The Washington Post-ABC News Poll is one of the more credible polls out there and has an A+ rating from FiveThirtyEight in regards to its methodology.


Now with all that said, President Trump’s approval ratings are interesting in terms of the negative stories that have come from his administration so far. Everything from the Trump Jr-Russia meeting to their inability to pass meaningful legislation has looked to take a toll on the public’s perception of the Trump administration. The Washington Post-ABC News Poll also found 48% of those surveyed felt the country’s leadership is worse off since Donald Trump had entered office.


While President Trump’s current unpopularity shouldn’t shock anyone, it does lead to two important questions:


  • Will President Trump’s unpopularity create congressional turnover in the 2018 Midterms?

  • Will such unpopularity create a situation where Republicans in Congress will have to go against the Trump administration to save their own party’s brand?


Historically, voters tend to go against the controlling party in midterm elections (look at the 2010 Midterms if you need any proof), it’s hard to see that it would be any different here. As for the Republicans pushing back against the Trump administration, many within the GOP have been hesitant to push back against the White House due to both groups sharing a core-conservative base. Right now, that core base has been relatively happy with the Trump administration thus far (ie the 36% that still approve of a Trump presidency). However, if President Trump’s approval ratings keep dropping, will moderate Republicans in the House and Senate start to turn against the administration in fears of losing their congressional seat in 2018 or 2020?


Originally we would have probably said no, but with such poor approval ratings, the question of a congressional GOP revolt now starts to become a legitimate talking point. For the Trump administration, if something doesn’t change soon, they could find themselves in real trouble!



(Photo Credit:, The New York Times)


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