Trump’s moral and mental unfitness probably won’t stop Senate Republicans from passing a ghastly health care bill. As a Republican up for reelection in a state Trump lost, Dean Heller is one of a handful of GOP senators with whom the fate of Trumpcare presumably lies. Heller has asserted that he can’t support the bill passed by the House. But Heller is a facile creature, and untrustworthy. The prospect that he will wildly exaggerate the benefit of some trifling deviation from the House bill, and then obey Trump and Mitch McConnell and gut health care coverage for millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Nevadans, is far too easy to imagine. One only need recall Heller’s theatrical dressing down of Steve Mnuchin, quickly followed by Heller’s bubbly support of Trump’s treasury secretary nominee on the basis of … nothing that Heller ever shared or explained.
If there is one thing Heller can be relied upon to care about, it is his own political career. Senate action on Trumpcare appears to be looming. The possibility that he may lose his Senate seat to a Democrat needs to be firmly lodged in Heller’s mind, sooner rather than later. People are mobilizing to flood his office with calls, and a roused rabble clearly rattles him. Yet he has not cast a single meaningful vote against something Trump wants.
Kate Marshall, Dina Titus, Ruben Kihuen, Ross Miller, Steven Horsford, Jacky Rosen and any other Democrats who might be prospective challengers to Heller should make some loud noises about their intentions, preferably today. Beating Heller next November would be a fine thing. But more urgently, Heller needs to be frightened. Because if he thinks Democrats can’t or won’t beat him, Heller will be the same thing over the next 17 months that he’s been for the last five — a Trump rubber stamp.