Right now, grand, system-level explanations are floating around for the failure of the GOP's Obamacare repeal efforts. Protests worked! Public opinion shifted! Listen to my NARRATIVE!!!
I don't like narrative explanations for politics. I'll just remind you of a simple fact. The Republicans have 52 seats in the Senate. They could lose two votes. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski were always considered lost votes, at least by me if you read back through my posts. When "skinny repeal" was introduced, I thought they might go along with it, but they were never necessary, and as moderates, they were locked out of the process anyway. McConnell's strategy was to aim for 50 votes-- the "minimal winning coalition," following the strategy of William Riker (yes, that was his name) from The Theory of Political Coalitions.
He got 49. Why? Because ONE PERSON-- John McCain-- voted no. One person.
John McCain, as I pointed out in my other post today, has a generally-undeserved reputation as a "maverick," but for the first time in over a decade last night/this morning, he earned it. If ONE PERSON had acted differently, we'd be in a different position now. Paul Ryan could have passed "skinny repeal" through the House, Trump could have signed it, and... and...
Yeah. So, don't give me any of that fucking bullshit about grand, system-level narratives for the failure of the GOP's repeal efforts. One guy made one decision. If he had acted differently, you'd be telling a different grand narrative. That's why I hate grand narratives. They are so easy to reverse-engineer around an outcome.
Skinny repeal was REALLY close to working. I was convinced "repeal-and-replace" was dead until "skinny repeal" came along, and I'm not going to forget the sequence of my thoughts. That's actually a benefit of keeping this blog. Understand just how close the GOP came... One person made one unexpected decision. Sometimes, that's all it takes.