With Donald Trump’s surprise victory in November of 2016, the nation was cast into intensely divisive turmoil. Trump, after all, founded his political platform on racism, saying that he would build a wall along the entire U.S./ Mexico border and deport every undocumented person currently in the country were he to be elected president, although he hasn’t been able to turn those promises into reality — yet at least.
That’s not where the story ends, however. We live in a democracy, no matter how many times that the president wants to pretend otherwise, and so that means that at regular intervals, we have the chance to reshape our government.
Later this year, the midterm elections will take place, and it looks like Democrats are going to enjoy broad victories across the country, with their cause helped by the fact that some thirty Republican members of the House of Representatives have now announced their intent to leave Congress. The thirtieth Republican member to do so was California’s controversial Darrell Issa, whose seat was already viewed as in play before his recent retirement announcement.
At one point, back ahead of the 2016 election, Issa enjoyed explicit support from then-Republican presidential contender Donald Trump, but that spike in support wasn’t enough to save him.
Other Republicans in similarly viewed seats to announce their retirement include Issa’s California Republican colleague Ed Royce, who, notably, has faced accusations of accepting dirty money that emanated from Kremlin-aligned interests in Europe and came through Paul Manafort.
I hope our relentless pursuit of @RepEdRoyce for his corrupt actions factored into his decision to resign. I also hope Royce resigned because of pressure from Robert Mueller in response to information we provided to Mueller’s office. https://t.co/bzwHOcFN1w
— J Whitfield Larrabee (@jwlarrabee) January 8, 2018
Manafort is one of four former associates of the president to have so far faced charges connected to the Russia scandal. He and his colleague Rick Gates face charges of money laundering, which the two of them have contested, while the other two former Trump associates to face charges, Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos, both faced charges of lying to the FBI and have both pleaded guilty to those charges.
The latter two have — much to the chagrin of the Trump camp — cooperated with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry into the Trump team for possible cooperation with Russian efforts to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.
Other moderate Republicans to have announced their exit from Congress throughout recent weeks and months include Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, Frank LoBiondo of New Jersey, and Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, among others.
The Cook Political Report currently rates LoBiondo’s seat as a “Toss-Up” and Dent’s as a “Lean Republican.” Ros-Lehtinen’s seat, on the other hand, is currently viewed as leaning Democratic by the Cook Political Report.
In total, the analysts with the Cook Political Report rate 15 House seats currently held by Republicans as “Toss-Ups” and 21 as only leaning Republican.
Democrats, in addition to holding onto the seats they already have, need to pick up 24 House seats in the upcoming midterms to become the majority party. In the Senate, besides holding onto the seats they already have, they need to pick up two seats.
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