Unfortunately, advancing legislation is not as easy a task as sending the media on another mindless wild goose chase after a Trump tweet. At this game, Trump is the grandmaster. But legislation requires fundamentals and a mentality dedicated to playing the long-game.
Two time-tested legislative fundamentals Trump would be wise to embrace in support of his Congressional maneuvers are outreach to business lobbyists and Conservative activists. Both have infrastructure already in existence within the Republican Party that could be put to his advantage when it comes time to march legislation down the field. He can convert their Party machinery into his machinery by coordinating with their officials in pursuit of their common objectives.
As resistant though they were to Trump during the election, business interests are generally best served by keeping Trump as an ally; if not in all cases, then most. The repeal of Obamacare is an example of how the mutual interests of Trump and business coincide.
The insurance industry has much to lose if the repeal is only partial or fails: The continued participation of insurers in Obamacare exchanges is untenable because those exchanges are in a death spiral. These failing exchanges will not be saved by the administration. But if they fail, the insurance industry will be faced with the unpleasant mission of operating in an Obama-era regulatory environment designed around a that only partially exists.
The best outcome for the insurance industry is for as much of Obamacare to be repealed as possible so they may adjust their Obama-era assumptions for a new environment.
Trump has his own reasons to not marginally change Obamacare. Chief among these is the fact that the less Obamacare’s taxes and regulations are upturned the more his administration will have to manage what is left of a disintegrating law.
Their shared interest can be translated into joint pressure on Congress to vote repeal through. The insurance industry, now drifting in a regulatory limbo, cannot afford to have Congress continue to delay decisive action no matter their personal opinion of Trump. The sooner Congress acts the sooner insurers will be able to implement new business strategies.
White House coordination with insurance industry lobbyists is called for and will help Trump strong-arm the Congress to his will.
Conservative activists had difficulty organizing during the Obama administration because they were prevented from forming non-profits by the Obama IRS. The Trump administration should now have the IRS approve their non-profit requests and coordinate with as many conservative activist groups as possible. Likewise, they should return in kind the actions the Left made against Conservative activists by having the Trump IRS revoke the non-profit status of Liberal activist groups.
Outreach to business lobbyists and Conservative activists will require Trump to assign White House staff to coordinate it.
Coordination brings us to Reince Priebus and his so far unimpressive coordination with Congress. His role calls for acting as White House liaison to Congress, a role that Priebus so far has not shown much promise in. For a President Trump, whose leadership style inclines him to delegate fine details to top advisors, having competent surrogates delegate matters such as Congressional and pressure group outreach will be a key to his success. If Priebus continues to prove mediocre Trump should not hesitate in proving the observation of Scott Adams correct that Trump “knows how to fire well.“