An all-too-familiar scenario played out after the failed Trumpcare vote.
Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) tried to pull a fast one on America, putting crucial health care legislation up for a vote in the early hours of July 28. Unfortunately for McConnell and other supporters of the so-called “Skinny Repeal” bill, it was struck down in a dramatic moment with 51 senators voting against it.
“Trumpcare,” at least in its current form, was dead.
Joining 48 Democratic and Independent “no” votes were three Republicans: Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Susan Collins (Maine), and in a dramatic last minute pivot, John McCain (Arizona).
Though Murkowski and Collins have maintained their opposition to the bill from the start, McCain has been getting what miiiiiiight be seen as a disproportionate amount of credit for killing it.
Watching a man getting more credit than women for the same amount of work seemed a bit familiar to many Twitter users, who were quick to make sure Murkowski and Collins get the place in history they deserve.
After all, it was McCain’s “yes” vote earlier in the week that led the Senate to the precipice in the first place while Collins and Murkowski were steadfast in their opposition. Collins and Murkowski spent the days in between the two votes getting threats from members within their own party while McCain received praise from the president himself.
McCain’s decisive “no” vote on Friday places him solidly on the right side of history, protecting health care for millions of Americans, but watching him place his two votes was a bit like watching someone light a house on fire, help others put it out, and then get all the credit.
In many ways, Collins and Murkowski’s votes were tougher than McCain’s. While Collins isn’t up for re-election until 2020 and Murkowski until 2022, it’s likely that they’ll both seek it, meaning that this vote could come to define them for better or for worse. Additionally, President Donald Trump threatened to retaliate against Murkowski if she voted against the bill. McCain, on the other hand, now 80 years old and recently diagnosed with brain cancer, has probably run his last campaign.
Add in the fact that separate House Republicans appear to have half-jokingly threatened Murkowski and Collins in the past week, and it’s clear that the senators won’t exactly be seen as popular with certain segments of the party moving forward.
Beyond McCain, Collins, Murkowski, and the other 48 “no” votes, it’s important to remember the real heroes of the health care fight: regular people doing extraordinary things.
Activists played a huge role in shutting down the effort to gut the Affordable Care Act that shouldn’t go overlooked.
The ACLU shared some stunning numbers from its push to stop the bill, noting that 89,000 supporters e-mailed members of Congress, made nearly 19,000 phone calls, and attended hundreds of in-person events.
And organizations like disability rights activists ADAPT kept sustained pressure on senators of all stripes to do the right thing.
In the end, blocking Trumpcare was a group effort. Senators, representatives, and ordinary everyday Americans came together in the name of what’s right.