Quick Takes: Trump Threatens to Take Obamacare Hostage

* Trump hasn’t given up on his attempt to repeal Obamacare. But his latest strategy for doing so is really something to behold. What it comes down to is that Trump is threatening to blow Obamacare up if Democrats refuse to work with him on killing it.

If you want to learn more about the policy issues involved, read Jonathan Cohn. If you want to read more about why Donald Trump is the world’s most inept hostage-taker, read Jonathan Chait.

* Surprise, surprise. The plan seems to be back-firing.

Democrats say they will make funding for a key Obamacare program a top priority in the next spending bill after President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to stop it, raising the possibility of a government shutdown threat over the health care law.

Trump said he hasn’t decided whether to fund the Obamacare cost-sharing program, which helps low-income Americans pay their health care co-pays and deductibles. In a Wall Street Journal interview Wednesday, he suggested that the funding for the program — called cost-sharing reductions — should be used as leverage to bring Democrats to the table on health care.

The current government spending bill expires April 28 and will need at least some Democratic support to get to Trump’s desk. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will insist that the subsidies are included in the funding bill, aides said.

* This story is all about little men who think it raises their stature to play with big toys…except in this case, people get killed.

The US military has just dropped a big bomb in Afghanistan.

The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast, also called the “mother of all bombs” or MOAB for short, is the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used by the US military on the battlefield. The 11-ton weapon was first tested in 2003 but had never been used in combat prior to Thursday — when a US MC-130 aircraft dropped one on what it claims was a network of ISIS tunnels.

The obvious question, following such a high-profile show of strength, is what this means. Does this mean ISIS is a bigger threat in Afghanistan than we previously thought? Is this President Trump just following through on his campaign promise to “bomb the shit out of ISIS”? Is the Trump administration trying to send a signal to countries like North Korea and Iran that it means business?

* Who knows if this holds through 2018, but right now the two parties in this country are divided on something other than policy. Here is the story on Democrats:

All around the country, Democrats interested in running for office are crawling out of the woodwork. But how many of these potential candidates will turn into serious congressional candidates?

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has already talked to 275 people in 68 districts wanting to run — 20 people in one Illinois district alone…

Democrats say they’ve never seen this level of interest from this many potential candidates this early in the off-year of a midterm election cycle. Many chalk it up to the surprise election of President Donald Trump.

* Republicans seem to be going in the opposite direction.

A gray mood has settled over conservative-leaning voters in some of the country’s most reliably Republican congressional districts, as the party’s stumbles in Washington demoralize them and leave lawmakers scrambling to energize would-be supporters in a series of off-year elections.

While the next nationwide elections are not until 2018, Republicans have grown fearful that these voters are recoiling from what they see as lamentable conditions in Washington: a government entirely in Republican hands that has failed to deliver on fundamental goals like overhauling the health care system.

* As we move into spring and summer, I suspect we’ll be hearing a lot more stories like this:

Hadley farmer Wally Czajkowski still isn’t sure if there will be enough laborers this year but he was pleased with the turnout Saturday at his Plainville Farm to talk about how President Donald Trump’s immigration policies are affecting Western Mass. farmers.

Czajkowski, like other farmers, are worried they won’t have enough employees to do all the work for the upcoming season. Having immigrant laborers is “absolutely crucial,” he has said, adding he couldn’t possibly hire enough workers to replace them.

Trump’s immigration talk and recent U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids are scaring people, even those with papers, he said.

* At least one federal prosecutor was willing to speak up about AG Sessions’ latest moves on immigration.

All federal prosecutors, Sessions said in his slow Alabama drawl, must now consider bringing cases against people suspected of the “transportation or harboring of aliens.” Those prosecutors must also look to bring more felony prosecutions against some immigrants who illegally enter the country more than once and should charge immigrants with document fraud—which includes using a made-up Social Security number—and aggravated identity theft when they can.

One veteran federal prosecutor told The Daily Beast these changes are a generating significant concern.

“It’s fucking horrifying,” the prosecutor said. “It’s totally horrifying and we’re all terrified about it, and we don’t know what to do.

* Finally, with that in mind, listening to Carlos Santana’s “Migra” seems like a good way to go out today.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.