Democracy is the political art that gives voice to the population and as a result the election process seems to be a popularity contest but developments in Washington show that the tyranny of #Numbers is the deciding factor on many matters rather than the merits or faults of proposals or legislation. Two cases show how the numbers can both help and block the Republican Party’s agenda.

Supreme Court

On Tuesday Democrat Senate Leader Chuck Schumer stated that he wants the Senate not to vote on the confirmation of Judge #Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court until after the end of the investigations into the allegations of Russian hacking.

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The investigations had been confirmed the day before by FBI Director Jams Comey during his sworn testimony to the House Intelligence Committee. He used the precedence that the Republicans has set last year to refuse considering Barack Obama’s replacement for deceased Supreme Court Justice Atonin Scalia until after the presidential election.

As was expected Mitch McConnell refused to agree to the suggestion stating that the process would proceed despite the shadows over the Oval Office caused by the FBI Director’s testimony.

In this case the sheer numbers of the Republican dominated Senate became a tool to block any attempt at delaying the Party’s plans to introduce conservative Justices to the highest bench in the land.

Strangely enough, on the same day and in the other House, the Republicans then faced another battle of numbers that may well block another piece of their conservative agenda.

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This time the numbers involved are Republican that threaten to overturn the GOP’s majority in the House and possibly also in the Senate.

ACA

Last week Republican House Majority Leader Paul Ryan introduced his proposed bill to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. This act was in line with President #Donald Trump’s campaign promise to repeal and replace the former Administration’s piece of legislation most hated by the Republicans.

This proposal fuelled protests around the country by those who fear losing their health insurance or facing massive increases in their premiums in the near future. The heated town hall meetings then led to fears by many GOP Senators and Congressmen for their seats in next year’s midterms.

This legislation has split the Party between those who accept the proposal as is, by those who consider that it has gone too far and by those who believe that it has not gone far enough. The split is such that many now doubt that the bill will be passed by either the Senate or Congress

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This opposition within his own Party has led to an angry reaction from the Oval Office where President Donald Trump personally and in tweets has stated the possibility of opposing recalcitrant Republicans at the Primaries.

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This reaction from the #White House has only made the split within the GOP even more evident to the public and to the opposition Democrats in both Houses. Once again the rule of numbers comes into play on the part of the Republicans but this time it works against them because every combination now risks damaging the Party.

If the Republicans follow the Oval Office’s diktats then many Senators and Congressmen run the risk of further alienating their constituents and handing the majorities of both Houses to the Democrats, thus definitively blocking the White House for two years. On the other hand if they vote against the Ryan proposal they risk the ire of the President who will oppose their nominations for the midterms.

The game of numbers will now dominate the Party as their representatives decide which road to take but indications are that there will be a mighty clash between the Oval Office and the GOP legislators. President Trump wants his orders followed unquestioningly and the House Leaders must deal with representatives that are putting their political futures at stake.

This will be the test that will show the true mettle of the Republican Leadership.