If Donald Trump appears to behave like a cartoonish New York mobster, that might be because it’s exactly what he’s doing. After all, he is apparently friends with key Mafia members, such as Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno and Paul Castellano, from his real estate days. They seem to have influenced how Trump handles negotiations, especially when they aren’t going his way. According to Paul Krugman, in a recent New York Times piece, this is what is happening with Trump and the Affordable Care Act.
The attempt to repeal the ACA (Obamacare) and replace it with the American Health Care Act was an embarrassing defeat for Trump and the Republicans. Now Trump is determined to make Democrats, and other political opponents, pay for his hurt ego, even if it means millions of Americans go without health care. His rhetoric, analyzed by Krugman, has Mafioso qualities:
“I don’t want people to get hurt.”(Nice shop you’ve got here, shame if something were to happen to it.)
“What I think should happen and will happen is the Democrats will start calling me and negotiating.” (I’m making them an offer they can’t refuse.)”
This might be cold-hearted, but it’s also foolish. Democrats have “no incentive whatsoever” to cave to Trump. He can’t dismantle Medicaid without congressional approval, and the Democrats won’t let that happen. As well, Trump’s attempt to scapegoat his opponents on the AHCA failure will backfire. “Voters tend to blame whoever holds the White House for bad things, and in this case they’d be right,” Krugman writes. “If there is a death spiral, it will have Mr. Trump’s name on it, and deservedly so.”