Here is the state of play as of my kid’s bath time:
— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) June 26, 2017
What does this mean?
1) Keep on calling. Targets are Murkowski, Cassidy, Portman, Capito-Moore, Cotton, Cruz, Lee, Johnson. Adjust your asks per your Senator. What might work for Murkowski won’t work for Cruz and vice versa.
2) Time for some analysis. The ideal situation for any Republican Senator is it either passes without Vice President Pence’s vote so that no single Republican Senator can be blamed as the decisive vote or it fails miserably so there is protection in numbers from primary challenges. Everything else is an intermediate outcome. Given Heller and Collins statements, I don’t think the first preferred option is available. I am betting and speculating that the internal dynamics of the Republican caucus will push the bill to a bare majority if there are 48 Yes votes as it is introduced on the floor. Again, no one wants to be the decisive vote.
So the objective of everyone is to determine the size of the swing factions in the Republican caucus and see which way Senators who are ideologically/pragmatically/politically close to the Senator in question are leaning. The isolated buffalo gets taken down by wolves while a herd of deer working together offers protection to everyone. Everyone is trying to figure out where their herd is and not get too far in front. Signalling and raised eyebrows will matter.
3) Fundamentally we are probably at the equivalent place as Thursday afternoon in March as the House was considering their bill. There was rumbling that the votes weren’t there as both sides of the caucus were pulling apart. That was probably true at that point. But seven weeks later, they pulled something that was even worse and cobbled together a bare majority.
So keep on calling!