If the Ryan bill fails today, what then?
I have suggested that Trump's optimal strategy is to invite Schumer, Kaine and Sanders together to a private meeting, to propose that he get Republicans to introduce a new "phase 3 first" bill aimed at getting both Republican and Democratic votes in Congress. More than 60 votes in the Senate.
It should be as simple as possible, focusing on only two types of change: (1) reduced costs, what the people calling Congress have stressed this past week in a huge response; (2) simplicity for the end user. (I do not know whether replacing subsidies with tax breaks reduces or increases the paperwork pain for ordinary folks. Maybe best would be something as simple and painless as paying sales tax, where the guy selling you something tells you the net price and you don't do ANY extra paperwork.)
No income transfers at all; "we agree to disagree and fight those battles at a later date"; for now, zero net change from the status quo in income redistribution and such. While Trump could take credit for the new deal, there is no way Democrats could not benefit from the debacle today (or from the shock of Trump supporters in the unlikely event the new bill passes and they see more what is in it!).
But: what if Trump DOESN'T invite them over for a little chat?
The optimal strategy, for the media to see, is to wait a few days, as all humans need a few days to recover from what Trump is already starting to recover from. But even in those days, it would be best to work hard to lay the groundwork for one of two possibility for three days later: (1) the Trump invitation; or (2) a go-it-alone joint announcement by this holy trinity of Schumer, Kaine and Sanders.
Work hard how? To nail down the full specifics of what is already specific in paragraph one. To agree to work together, to stress that these three together represent the main ... heritage... of different parts of the Big Tent, and in either case to be able to say in a week or so that Democrats CAN work together to meet the needs of the people and take the moral highground.
It is important not to be obnoxious and petty. There is no need to criticize Republicans for NOT being able to work together. I suppose a few insults to dark money would be fine, and the Freedom Caucus ... well, I think they are actually a key part of what Bannon has called a "silent coup." (Lamar Smith's activities, including his link to the persecution of Hillary Clinton and others by moles in the FBI, is another key part. And some illegal cyber operations, linked to short-circuiting of whistleblowers who could have stopped that.) It is enough to make positive statements, and even to prove it by action more than by words. To prove that Democrats do not just want to sit by and cheer as Rome burns, the way the dark money trolls have done and continued to do even under a Trump presidency.
If Democrats as a group give in to the understandable reactive psychology of trying to get rid of Trump... it's important to remember consequences. Who would replace him? Some have described Pence as "the new Cheney." Democracy itself is truly at stake.
After the debacle of this week, perhaps Trump will begin to realize that it was the Koch Empire, a combination of open and hidden forces, which is the real center of who has been out to get him, even though that empire has many fellow travelers, and not either Hillary Clinton or Obama who have also been its victims. And yes, like Halliburton, it gets a lot of its money from the Persian Gulf, in the end.
If Trump gets nasty egg on his face today, and a continued supply of eggs from the ranking member on House Intelligence... there is a way he could turn it all on its head, as he often did in the campaign, and turn lemons into lemonade, **IF** he follows the general approach above and **IF** key Democrats wisely realize this is the best way forward.
On the security aspect, he could say... I apologize to Obama for thinking he was in charge of US government actions in this area. That is why he made the mistake he did. Evidence has come to me through private but reliable sources of a surprising vast penetration of US institutions by people violating the constitution, funded in part by the same dark money which made such an effort to get rid of me in the vote today. I wanted a vote, in order to know exactly which members of the Freedom Caucus have been suborned by this unAmerican extremist movement, which seriously aims to impoverish American workers and reduce American freedoms and due process of law. Now that they have been fully tested and been fully exposed...
They assert that I have been willing to make deal with America's most implacable enemies. No, it's not the Russians they were planning to make total war against. It's the Democrats. But folks, I promised to make whatever deals would truly benefit the American. No, I will not sacrifice my values or our freedoms in any deals, whether with Democrats or with Russians, but I refuse to wallow in pious self-righteousness as people suffer. We CAN make a deal with the Democrats, which, while not perfect, would frankly serve our values a whole lot more than what the extremists have been working for. In such a deal, I will not give an inch to those who want to undermine the status quo towards less freedom, more taxing of the rich, or bigger government -- but I will work hard to improve choices and reduce costs for all Americans, especially those who voted for me. I WILL keep my promises, and I regret that the forces of dark money simply would not allow me to do that without making deals with the Democrats. And yes, folks, I still plan to try to make deals with the Russians too, and everyone else who is willing to work with us in surviving the real threats we all face.