Something important happened at the end of September -- or, rather, didn’t happen. On September 30, the "reconciliation" deadline passed in the US Senate -- the date by which legislation can be classed as a budget measure, and thus be passed with a simple majority of 51 votes.

September 30 went by, with the vote-of-all-votes unpassed: the Obamacare repeal, which Republicans had been promising since it became law in 2010, a cause that President Donald Trump took up as a centrepiece of his campaign. Two major attempts to craft a repeal-and-replace bill were put to the Senate and failed, due to the refusal of Republican senators John McCain, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Rand Paul. A final attempt, known as the Graham-Cassidy plan, looked more threatening, as it was put forward by John McCain’s Senate bromance Lindsey Graham. But McCain would not consent, and it was never even taken to the Senate floor.