Experts say Trump's breaking promises to be disaster for GOP in mid-term elections

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-20 10:11:54|Editor: Zhou Xin
Video PlayerClose

by Matthew Rusling

WASHINGTON, July 19 (Xinhua) -- The clock is ticking for U.S. President Donald Trump to start delivering on his campaign promises, and failure to do so could lead to disaster for the GOP in the 2018 mid-term elections, experts said.

This week marks six months since Trump took office. But despite his dominance of the news cycle, the president has yet to pass any meaningful legislation on a host of issues he promised to deal with while he was a presidential candidate last year.

Indeed, this week saw the implosion of the president's plan to repeal and replace the current U.S. healthcare system -- known as Obamacare, former President Barack Obama's signature legislation -- when Senators from his own party refused to support the bill.

The move blindsided the president, and sent Republicans scrambling to figure out the next step.

"Trump is running out of time," Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Darrell West told Xinhua.

"He has been president for six months and has delivered nothing for Republicans except one Supreme Court confirmation," he said.

"He has not been successful on any of the big issues he identified during the campaign," he said.

Indeed, Trump was elected at a time of major dissatisfaction among many Americans at the direction the United States is taking. He was also elected at a time when the U.S. economy has not fully recovered from the 2007-2008 economic nose dive.

While the economy has recovered in many major cities, rural areas continue to see factories shutter, and millions are unemployed or underemployed. Although the official jobless rate is low, the figures do not count the army of Americans who have dropped out of the workforce due to sheer frustration at their dim prospects.

The poor economies in former industrial states such as Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio have also been a factor in the nation's widespread but under reported drug problem -- the worst in U.S. history, said experts.

Trump's supporters elected him to make sweeping changes after eight years of what they saw as an elitist administration in Washington that was more interested, in their view, in pushing political correctness than in solving the nation's economic problems.

One of candidate Trump's promises was to repeal and replace Obamacare, as critics point out the law, passed by Obama, has led to surging premiums, new and increased taxes and fewer choices in healthcare.

Some people living paycheck to paycheck have found it financially difficult to comply with the Obamacare law that imposes a fine on individuals who do not purchase health insurance.

With Trump's failure on the healthcare front this week, the president will need to act fast to prove he can deliver on his campaign promises.

Experts said the New York billionaire needs to pivot away from healthcare for the time being and focus on other legislative promises.

"The sooner the GOP can pivot away from heath care and look to get money back from overseas, money back in Americans' pockets, and Americans back to work on outdated infrastructure, the better," Dan Mahaffee, senior vice president and director of policy at the Center for the Study of Congress and the Presidency, told Xinhua.

"Quick victories -- and the time spent trying to get a quick victory -- will likely prolong a process that has sucked away political capital and left the public increasingly disenchanted with the GOP, save for a very vocal base," Mahaffee said.

"This will require a major pivot by President Trump, his administration, and the Congress, but history shows that it is possible," Mahaffee said.

Now, Trump is scrambling to figure out the next step on healthcare, taking to social media this week and threatening Democrats that he will allow the current healthcare system -- passed several years back by Democrats -- to fail.

Experts said allowing Obamacare to simply fail would leave millions of Americans out in the cold. Supporters note that it has provided millions of Americans with health insurance.

West said if Congress repeals Obamacare without a replacement in mind, it will devastate rural hospitals and the rural people they help. These hospitals need the financial help that Obamacare provides in order to remain solvent, and many health care providers will be hurt if there is repeal without a solid replacement, he said.

"The pain would fall disproportionately on places that voted for Trump so an outright repeal would be very detrimental to Trump supporters," the Brookings fellow said.

Some experts have called for a compromise, and West said Republicans should craft a repair bill with Democrats to fix problems with Obamacare.

"There are some bipartisan things the two parties could do. But it can't involve repeal because that would be a non-starter for Democrats," he said.