Anyone else enjoy watching the Trumpcare meltdown on the right this week? Because I have. I’ve loved visiting Breitbart day after day and seeing the headlines. If Paul Ryan thought that Trump’s army would help him sell his Obamacare “repeal and replace” plan to the general public, he was dead wrong. On Tuesday, Breitbart ran an exclusive interview with Rand Paul explaining his opposition to the bill, then on Thursday, they ran a front page article in which Republican Senator Tom Cotton called on Congress to “start over.”
Meanwhile the frog squad has been almost silent. Twitter conversation around Obamacare/Trumpcare/Ryancare on the #MAGA hashtag is largely liberals trolling. The Donald subreddit has had little discussion, and nothing that’s become a hot or trending thread. And I’ve yet to find a popular pro-Trumpcare meme anywhere on the internet. While health care legislation has dominated the news this week, Trump’s online army doesn’t seem to care much.
Which is a problem for Trump. His communication strategy has always relied on amplifying and validating the frog squad’s content to make his point. Right now, neither the the right wing media nor his online trolls are on board. The Tea Party/Freedom Caucus wing of the GOP is pushing back against the legislation with everything they’ve got, and Trump doesn’t have any cannon fodder to defend him.
Opposition to Obamacare has always seemed to me like opposition to the first black president rather than opposition to the actual legislation. As I wrote last week, Trump no longer has Obama as a villain. He doesn’t have an easy way to tie Obamacare to racial resentment, something we know drives his base of support. Instead of presenting a plan for Obamacare repeal, Trump chose to let Congress take the lead. Now he’s forced to defend a plan that everyone hates. He has no villain. Most important: he has no echo chamber.
President Trump is on his own. More than he’s been since announcing his candidacy. It’s the biggest opportunity Democrats have had in ages to both save Obamacare and do some real damage to Trump’s image at the same time.
The above is an excerpt from Ctrl Alt Right Delete, a weekly newsletter devoted to understanding how the right operates online and developing strategies and tactics to fight back.