Quick Takes: Republican Cold War Heats Up as Trump Travels to Arizona

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* We already knew that the prospect for Trump and Republicans to pass any of their legislative agenda was slim to none. But then this happened

The relationship between President Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, has disintegrated to the point that they have not spoken to each other in weeks, and Mr. McConnell has privately expressed uncertainty that Mr. Trump will be able to salvage his administration after a series of summer crises.

What was once an uneasy governing alliance has curdled into a feud of mutual resentment and sometimes outright hostility, complicated by the position of Mr. McConnell’s wife, Elaine L. Chao, in Mr. Trump’s cabinet, according to more than a dozen people briefed on their imperiled partnership. Angry phone calls and private badmouthing have devolved into open conflict, with the president threatening to oppose Republican senators who cross him, and Mr. McConnell mobilizing to their defense.

* You want to know how bad it’s gotten? Kelli Ward will run in the Republican primary against Arizona Senator Jeff Flake. Trump has publicly endorsed Ward. Just as the president is heading to Arizona for a campaign-style rally, a McConnell-aligned SuperPac released this ad:

* Here’s news about something that won’t happen in Arizona tonight:

President Trump will not pardon controversial former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio at a campaign rally Tuesday night in Arizona.

“There will be no discussion of that today at any point and no action will be taken on that front at any point today,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters aboard Air Force One.

* Trump has reached another historic milestone.

We have been tracking President Trump’s false or misleading claims for more than seven months. Somewhere around Aug. 4 or Aug. 5, he broke 1,000 claims, and the tally now stands at 1,057.

* Greg Sargent says that Trump’s White House has developed an ugly new strategy.

Trump must decide whether to continue Barack Obama’s executive action protecting the dreamers (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA)…

…the Trump White House wants to use this population as a bargaining chip to compel Congress to fund a border wall, stepped-up deportations, cuts to legal immigration and a requirement that all employers use E-Verify. Evaluated solely on its own terms, this would be a truly awful deal for immigration advocates and Democrats: It would constitute giving the restrictionists a whole range of things they covet, in exchange for not removing protections from dreamers that even many Republicans are loath to see removed.

* In discussing the fact that states with the fewest immigrants push back hardest against immigration, Ron Brownstein comes up with an interesting description of the Republican and Democratic coalitions.

Democrats rely on what I have called a “coalition of transformation” that is largely comfortable with these changes, from increasing racial diversity and tolerance for diverse lifestyles to the transition toward a post-industrial economy. This coalition revolves around voters who are younger, more diverse, heavily urbanized, and among whites, both more secular and more tilted toward white-collar professions.

Republicans mobilize a competing “coalition of restoration” centered on voters who feel eclipsed, or even threatened, by these same changes. This coalition tends to be older, preponderantly white, religiously devout, strongest outside of major cities, and increasingly tilted toward blue-collar workers.

* It looks like the idea of “Medicaid for more” is catching on.

Democrats are ready to go on the health care offensive. And Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) may have a new plan for them to do it.

In an interview with Vox, Schatz revealed that he’s preparing a new bill that could grant more Americans the opportunity to enroll in Medicaid by giving states the option to offer a “buy-in” to the government program on Obamacare’s exchanges.

His proposal would expand the public health insurance program from one that covers only low-income Americans to one open to anyone seeking coverage, depending on what each state does. The idea is similar to the government-run “public option” that some Democrats advocated for during the battle over the Affordable Care Act’s passage.

* Finally, I’ll just drop this one in here and let you figure out why it’s the tune that has been playing in my head all day.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.