An all-too-familiar scenario played out after the failed Trumpcare vote.
Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) tried to pull a fast one on America, putting crucial health care legislation up for a vote in the early hours of July 28. Unfortunately for McConnell and other supporters of the so-called “Skinny Repeal” bill, it was struck down in a dramatic moment with 51 senators voting against it.
“Trumpcare,” at least in its current form, was dead.
Joining 48 Democratic and Independent “no” votes were three Republicans: Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Susan Collins (Maine), and in a dramatic last minute pivot, John McCain (Arizona).
Though Murkowski and Collins have maintained their opposition to the bill from the start, McCain has been getting what miiiiiiight be seen as a disproportionate amount of credit for killing it.
In the end, probably a good dozen Senate Republicans who are relieved it didn’t pass.
But only McCain had stature enough to vote NO
— Mark Murray (@mmurraypolitics) July 28, 2017
And in the end McCain lived up to his speech and cast the most important vote of his career.
— Lawrence O’Donnell (@Lawrence) July 28, 2017
Watching a man getting more credit than women for the same amount of work seemed a bit familiar to many Twitter users, who were quick to make sure Murkowski and Collins get the place in history they deserve.
After all, it was McCain’s “yes” vote earlier in the week that led the Senate to the precipice in the first place while Collins and Murkowski were steadfast in their opposition. Collins and Murkowski spent the days in between the two votes getting threats from members within their own party while McCain received praise from the president himself.
McCain’s decisive “no” vote on Friday places him solidly on the right side of history, protecting health care for millions of Americans, but watching him place his two votes was a bit like watching someone light a house on fire, help others put it out, and then get all the credit.
Giving McCain the credit for defeating this repeal when female Senators Murkowski & Collins were early NOs is EVERY WORK MEETING EVER.
— Jenny Yang👲👲🏽🐉 (@jennyyangtv) July 28, 2017
Before we pin a set of angel wings on McCain, remember that he could’ve put a stop to this five days ago.
— Matt Zoller Seitz (@mattzollerseitz) July 28, 2017
*John McCain holds puppy over train tracks, decides at the last minute not to throw it in front of the train*
Media: “An American hero!”
— Anil Dash, again. (@anildash) July 28, 2017
McCain did the right thing, but more importantly, Collins and Murkowski have been doing the right thing all along.
— Sara Lang (@SaraLang) July 28, 2017
In many ways, Collins and Murkowski’s votes were tougher than McCain’s. While Collins isn’t up for re-election until 2020 and Murkowski until 2022, it’s likely that they’ll both seek it, meaning that this vote could come to define them for better or for worse. Additionally, President Donald Trump threatened to retaliate against Murkowski if she voted against the bill. McCain, on the other hand, now 80 years old and recently diagnosed with brain cancer, has probably run his last campaign.
Add in the fact that separate House Republicans appear to have half-jokingly threatened Murkowski and Collins in the past week, and it’s clear that the senators won’t exactly be seen as popular with certain segments of the party moving forward.
Beyond McCain, Collins, Murkowski, and the other 48 “no” votes, it’s important to remember the real heroes of the health care fight: regular people doing extraordinary things.
Activists played a huge role in shutting down the effort to gut the Affordable Care Act that shouldn’t go overlooked.
It’s important to recognise that Collins and Murkowski stood in opposition to the bill. More important to commend the activism against it.
— Katherine Cross (@Quinnae_Moon) July 28, 2017
The ACLU shared some stunning numbers from its push to stop the bill, noting that 89,000 supporters e-mailed members of Congress, made nearly 19,000 phone calls, and attended hundreds of in-person events.
Senators Collins, McCain, and Murkowski deserve gratitude— but the real heroes are untold millions who showed us what democracy looks like.
— ACLU National (@ACLU) July 28, 2017
And organizations like disability rights activists ADAPT kept sustained pressure on senators of all stripes to do the right thing.
Senate ready vote on health care– close to 11pm EST and the protestors are still loud enough you can hear them without walking outside.
— Ryan Nobles (@ryanobles) July 28, 2017
In the end, blocking Trumpcare was a group effort. Senators, representatives, and ordinary everyday Americans came together in the name of what’s right.