House Majority Leader Paul Ryan (R-WI) is anticipating a Trump win in November. Or, at least, he is preparing for it. He says that if Republicans hold sway in the White House, the House and the Senate, he plans to use budget reconciliation to repeal the American Care Act (also known as Obamacare) and to impose tax cuts on the wealthy. Ryan says he will not even attempt any bipartisanship as he shoves his regressive agenda down the throats of our people. Instead, he says that he can make it work, especially if he has a Trump White House.
This is, perhaps, why Republicans who appear to have at least a little bit of good sense are going for the nonsense. They know that Mr. Trump, with his head in the cloud and his rhetoric in the gutter, will let them get away with anything they want. He will agree to their tax cuts because they coincide with his agenda to reward the wealthy. Trump will go along with cuts to Obamacare because he wasn’t loving it in the first place. He will let conservative Republicans hold sway, especially if they reward him with their votes in November.
Paul Ryan calls his plan a “Better Way” policy agenda. It is an aggressive move that assumes that Republicans will control both the House and the Senate. They might not – if people vote, and vote down ballot, there is a real chance that Democrats can control the Senate. The House is a much bigger challenge, and it is likely that Republicans will continue to hold sway in the house. But there are too many folks who say they won’t vote, and their votes could make a real difference. In Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Florida (among other states), those who choose to refrain from voting are really voting for a Trump-Ryan agenda.
The attack on Obamacare is especially problematic. While the President’s Affordable Care Act is clearly flawed, it expanded health insurance for more than 20 million people. It isn’t the desired single payer care, but it provides opportunity and takes the first step in expanding the social contract since the Roosevelt years. The American Care Act can be used as a foundation to expand health insurance coverage and, in my mind, single-payer is the ultimate goal. But legislators rejected the single-payer plan that Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Ma) proposed for decades. The Affordable Care Act is a compromise. We need to move forward in improving the ACA, not backward in repealing it. Trump and Ryan would restrict rights instead of expanding them.
According to Politico, Paul Ryan thinks that a divided government contributes to gridlock. He’d be happy if the Presidency, the Congress, and the Senate were all Republican. What about the rest of us? Does he see our voice in this? Not according to Ryan. He tells Politico “I’m tired of divided government. It doesn’t work very well.” He seems to ignore the fact that there are legitimate differences among legislators and that these differences need to be worked out. He is uninterested in compromise. Instead, he wants to shove his position down the throats of other people.
Paul Ryan has explicitly called Donald Trump a racist. He has eschewed many of his policies. Other Republicans have been openly repulsed by their bellicose standard bearer, disturbed by his racist bluster and his wacky wildness. But they have thrown their discernment to the wind, embracing the man they have described as a rabid racist because they prefer him to an embrace of integrity.
As we count down to the November 8 election, people are coming forward to say they are undecided, conflicted, and have to vote for third parties because they can neither tolerate Clinton nor Trump. But the bottom line is that either Clinton or Trump will win the Presidency. Really. Those Republicans who support Trump are openly supporting evil. They will dance with the devil to their detriment.
African Americans, especially, need to look at that which Mr. Trump has promised. He has promised discrimination. He has described our lives as hell. He has been a bully and a documented discriminator. He has been too much. He should be enough to repel us. Paul Ryan has called Trump a racist, but he is willing to dance with the devil because it serves his purposes. What about you?
Julianne Malveaux is an author and economist. Her latest book “Are We Better Off? Race, Obama and Public Policy” is available via www.amazon.com