It was an emotional and harrowing night for tens of millions of Americans, who stayed up late to see if Republicans would pass their so-called “skinny repeal” version of Trumpcare, which was no less a disaster than every other iteration of it. All eyes were on Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who confounded many by voting in favor of the motion to proceed on the bill Tuesday, then gave an impassioned speech against the process he had just voted for.
When the time came, though, Senator McCain voted no, and a small smattering of cheers went up:
At 1:38 a.m. Friday morning, the bill was defeated by a 51-49 margin, and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) gave a whiny speech about how Democrats must be celebrating, and he can't wait to hear their ideas on fixing health care, as if they have any of those. Ted Cruz whined about “the Left” taking a “victory lap.”
But we have not won a victory, we have survived an assault, so while we're all glad it turned out this way, it's not exactly time to throw a party. And while Sen. McCain deserves some credit for voting against his party, his colleagues Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) deserve a little bit more for voting against this thing three days ago.
And Democrats not only never even thought about stripping health care away from 16-32 million people, they're the ones who gave it to 20 million more people in the first place. Each and every one of these heroes constituted a deciding vote to protect us all.
There will be plenty of analysis on the devastating political consequences this will have for Republicans, who went on record in favor of letting Americans die without health insurance, but I don't know of a single Democrat who wouldn't have traded that damage in order to avoid the painful hours during which so much was put at risk by so few.