The Associated Press file photo / Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, leaves a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington recently wearing a mask.

Don't mess with the ACA

Never mind Donald Trump's continuing effort to kill the Affordable Care Act even in the midst of our spiking COVID-19 pandemic. In Oklahoma's primary last week, voters narrowly passed a measure expanding Medicaid to nearly 200,000 low-income adults after the state's Republican governor declined to do so.

See, Tennessee — democracy can work if you go to the polls.

Oklahomans' vote makes the Sooner State the fifth state to overrule its Republican executive and embrace a key element of the Affordable Care Act.

Years after the Supreme Court and the Senate each rejected efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the Trump administration is still trying to undo the law. It submitted a brief last week asking the high court to throw out the law.

But the Oklahoma vote also signified another milestone — and a very important one: Most Republicans in Congress now represent states that have accepted the Medicaid expansion.


Another GOP turn-about

Amid the newest COVID-19 surge, did you notice a number of Republicans abruptly urging the use of masks despite Trump's continuing resistance?

Remember not too long ago — like maybe a week ago — when masks were still the rage as a political cause?

Not so much, suddenly. A growing set of Republican leaders are pushing Americans to wear them.

Last Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee decried the partisan mask ploys, saying "The stakes are too high for this political debate about pro-Trump, anti-Trump to continue."

Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Mike Pence are now pulling on masks. Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona, facing an uncontrolled outbreak of the coronavirus in his state, made a plea: "Arm yourself with a mask." U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming tweeted a photograph of her father, the former vice president, wearing a fleece vest, cowboy hat and pale blue surgical mask covering his face. "Dick Cheney says WEAR A MASK," she wrote, adding the hashtag "#realmenwearmasks."

Now if we could just convince the mocker-in-chief.


Veterans offer a bounty, too

'Vote vets' is mad and their ads show it.

"If you're going to act like a traitor, you don't get to thank us for our service," goes the last chilling line of a now-gone-viral Vote Vets campaign ad against Donald Trump just days after it was reported that U.S. intelligence officials briefed the White House about a Russian spy unit putting $100,000 bounties on the heads of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.

Trump has done some things, however, the ad advises.

He golfed. And he tweeted. But he did nothing and said nothing — either to Russia or to America — to explain his failure and inaction to protect our troops and confront his buddy Vladimir Putin, the man who backed him for president of the United States in 2016. Trump didn't take on the Russian president who backs him still because he's so inept he plays right into Russia's (and China's and North Korea's, ad nauseum) hands every time.

"He says nothing. ... Who is the enemy?" says the ad narrator, as rapid-fire, alternating photos of Putin and Trump flash onscreen.

But that wasn't the only stunning Vote Vets ad.

"Welcome to Camp Bin Laden, U.S. Army Military Reservation" reads the sign that a narrator repeats. "We wouldn't name bases after America's enemies, like Osama bin Laden. Why does Donald Trump so desperately want to keep the names of other racist enemies on our Army bases? ...

"But 10 military bases still bear the names of Confederate Army traitors. Enemies who took up arms against the United States in defense of slavery. Names that dishonor those who serve on those bases today. And you can add someone else to that list: Donald Trump dishonors our service when he stopped the military from removing those Confederate names. We need to rename these forts for American heroes — men and women who served our country honorably. But serving honorably, Mr. President, is something you'll just never understand."


Biden's best one-liner

Then there was the single-line tweet by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden — also in response to the Russians' bounties on our soldiers heads:

"I'll read my daily briefings."

Enough said.


Maybe not enough said

The cherry on top is Trump's new approval rating from Gallup polling: 39%.

What can he do to change those numbers?

Probably not much. Americans are fed up with his failure to handle the virus — even openly mocking masks. They are worried even more about the economy as states slowly back away from reopening. And now the bounty revelations continue to grow.

Trump won't read his briefings — the lowest level of being responsible to us.

Does anyone think that in just four months this 74-year-old incompetent will grow any wiser?

Forget "will he." Like the endangered amur leopard, Trump simply cannot change his spots.