(CNN) Less than two months after the 2017 Republican push to kill Obamacare perished overnight on the Senate floor, more than a third of the Democratic caucus gathered in a much smaller room on Capitol Hill to take turns making the case for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ new “Medicare for All” bill.
The Vermont independent had boosted single-payer health care plans before, but it had been a lonely enterprise. A previous iteration attracted no co-sponsors. This time, though, he was ringed by colleagues — among them, four of his future Democratic presidential rivals: Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Cory Booker of New Jersey.
The failed GOP coup united Democrats, for a least few heady weeks that summer, across ideological lines. Come 2018, House Republicans would pay dearly for their efforts, as Democrats campaigning on promises to protect and grow government-backed health care swept into the majority.