I’m getting too old for this shit Detective Roger Murtaugh Lethal Weapon
Pop Quiz! What’s my favorite saying? Once is an accident, twice is a habit, and three times is a fetish. Very good class. And in 2020, GOP retirements from the House are now officially becoming a habit, and it’s a habit that I hope turns out to be as addictive for them as cigarette smoking.
Back in 2018, the Republican party came close to setting a modern record when close to 3 dozen GOP incumbent House members all filed for retirement rather than run for reelection. There were two main reasons for this. First was the blowout off year 2017 elections in Virginia, where the Democrats rode a wave of anger and protest of Trump, mostly in the suburbs, to come within one seat of flipping the House blue. The second was a spate of special elections for mostly GOP House seats nationwide in 2017, almost all of which showed the Democrats over performing by anywhere from 11-30+ points based on 2016 results. The majority of GOP House desertions were in GOP held “swing” suburban districts, and the Democrats in fact flipped many of these seats in taking over the House in 2018.
And here in 2019, we aren’t even up to Thanksgiving yet, and the announcement by long time GOP representative Peter King of New York that he is retiring, the number of announced GOP House retirements in 2020 is already at 16, on par to at least match, if not break the 2018 total. This should be surprising, since the tsunami of 2018 flipped many of the risky swing” suburban districts, leaving the GOP incumbents still in the House in what should presumably be “safe” districts after 2018. And in fact, several of the departing congress critters are from districts that even in today’s environment are considered “safe” GOP districts. SO, what gives?
Actually, again there are two basic reasons for the spate of departures from mostly long serving GOP members of the House. First, many reporters, both on air as well as print, are reporting that in private, off the record conversations, many GOP lawmakers are telling them that the last three years of life under the thumb of El Pendejo Presidente have been both frustrating as well as exhausting. Frustrating because many of these members are true conservatives, and it kills them that the party was unable to get anything substantive done with complete control of government, due to the manifest incompetence of, and the complete lack of self control of Trump. And exhausting because it wears on a body to have to go out every day and publicly appear to support His Lowness, while still dancing between enough raindrops to maintain a soupcon of integrity by not directly endorsing the insanity of Traitor Tot. Awww, the poor babies.
Still, there has to be something more than shattered dreams and a little emotional fatigue to cause these long time ballot leeches to walk away from what basically amounts to high paying part time gigs with world class bennies, especially the ones concerning turning campaign donations into walking around money. And that’s where the second reason comes into play, and I think is actually the deciding factor.
Unlike being a member of the Senate, where even being a minority member can be a boxcar full of obstructionist giggles, due to the filibuster rule, being in the minority in the House really fucking sucks! In the House, there is no real mechanism for effective minority dissent. The majority Speaker of the House controls every aspect of the agenda, and the majority committee chairs autocratically decide what bills before them actually get voted on to move them out of committee and on to the floor for debate and a full House vote. Being a minority member of the House is a frustrating, thankless job. And just like highly paid professionals in other fields, people tend to retire when going into work becomes a bigger pain in the ass than the paycheck is worth, especially when you can make the same amount of money or more somewhere else.
This is spectacularly good news for the Democrats. Because, up until now, the GOP’s operative strategy has been that the impeachment process in the House of Donnie Depends is going to be the iceberg that sends the Democratic majority in the House to the bottom like the Titanic. A groundswell of voter anger over the Democrats attempted railroading of Trump through impeachment will blow the Democrats out of the water in those suburban “swing” districts in 2020, making Kevin “What order do those words go in?” McCarthy the next, rather incoherent Speaker of the House.
For the GOP, That’s the plan, Stan. But the House Democrats have made it crystal clear for the last 6 weeks that they have every intention of impeaching Trump, and forcing a trial in the Senate. And many of those allegedly vulnerable House “swing” district Democrats voted for the rules for the hearings. And even with the Democrats intentions being clear, that impeachment is inevitable, these GOP incumbents, mostly in what should be “safe districts, are heading for the exits. Which tells me that whatever pixie dust, pie-in-the-sky bullshit that Trump and the RNC are throwing around with steam shovels, these incumbents own internal polling, and quiet conversations are telling them something different. And they’re voting with their feet.
Look, I may be fairly decent at this shit, but I’m no expert. The real experts are the incumbents themselves, and they’re abandoning ship. If they thought there was even a 50-50 chance of a return to fortune and glory, they’d stick around, if for no better reason than to participate in all of the glorious petty vengeance they’d wreak starting in January of 2021. Don’t listen to me, listen to the experts.
To know the future, look to the past. before the insanity of the 2020 election, relive the insanity of the 2016 GOP primary campaign, and the general election, to see how we got to where we are. Copies of President Evil, and the sequel, President Evil II, A Clodwork Orange are available as e-books on Amazon, at the links above. Catch up before the upcoming release of the third book in the trilogy, President Evil III: All The Presidents Fen