Trump to House Rs on AHCA vote: "I honestly think many of you will lose your seats in 2018 if you don't get this done."— John Bresnahan (@BresPolitico) March 21, 2017
I'm trying to understand Donald Trump's thought behind this statement. Is Trump threatening them with primary challenges? It's beyond imaginable if the President is threatening members of his own party with primary challenges if they don't support him. But Trump is Trump. The problem is that the idea is ill conceived. Donald Trump has no organization with candidates, money, and volunteers. I can't imagine Trump finding good candidates and then setting up an organization to beat Republicans.
Is he telling them that America will blame them for blowing something so great they'll elect Democrats? While that seems more plausible than a President threatening people in his own party it isn't clearly thought out. Even if not passing this bill would lead to a Democratic wave, Democrats aren't taking more than 40-50 seats in a landslide. That's not many of them since there are 241 Republican seats. And there really aren't that many vulnerable Republicans.
Most likely there isn't thought behind it. Trump believes the bill is great because he backs it and most people in America love him. So anyone who doesn't support him will lose because America will hate them.
Rep. Chris Collins says Trump told Rs they'll "gain 10 seats in the Senate" if they pass AHCA and tax reform.— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) March 21, 2017
I guess this answers the question. Trump probably doesn’t even know if there are 10 Democratic senators up for re-election, let alone which ones. He doesn't know if Republicans could beat 10 Democrats. He just knows that whatever he’s for is great and America will reward them if they support it. It is conceivable Republicans could win those 10 seats because Democrats have so many senators up in swing seats but it's unlikely that could happen.
Voters don't usually reward a party for passing a couple of bills. Voters imagine they'll pass a perfect bill and are usually disappointed by the bills' failures. And those are the supporters. Opponents are really energized by a bill passing.