It’s no secret that the Republican Party is falling apart, something that is in no small part thanks to Donald Trump. The GOP stuck with Trump following him officially winning their party’s nomination, instead of coming out against his belligerent beliefs, and now they are paying the price in the court of public opinion.
More Americans presently say that they plan on voting for a Democrat in 2018 midterm elections than say they plan on voting for a Republican.
Besides the issue of Trump’s belligerence dragging their party down, there’s something else putting Republicans at a disadvantage in their efforts to hold onto a majority in the House of Representatives come 2018 — a wave of Congressional retirements.
Across the U.S. House, Republicans are choosing to pack their bags and leave D.C. rather than stay and face the seemingly always more intensely partisan environment that is the U.S. Congress under Trump. Republicans have become so desperate for even the smallest victory that they’ve resorted to tactics like bending Congressional rules just to get things done; over in the Senate, that’s what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did to get Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court confirmed.
Even still, Republicans have failed time and time again in their efforts to enact major policy proposals. Yes, they have a majority in both Houses, but no, that hasn’t meant that leaders have been able to get even a majority of their own party on any number of issues.
As Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Charlie Dent — who is himself retiring — put it:
‘Anybody who has a pair of eyes and ears knows that the House is in play and at risk. And I’m sure that fact enters into the calculation of many members who are contemplating their futures… Do you really want to go through another year like the last one?’
In total — as of Friday afternoon — 29 House Republicans will decline to seek re-election. One of the latest to announce their intent to leave Congress is House Judiciary Committee Chairman and Virginia Congressman Bob Goodlatte, who announced his retirement on the same day as it came out that Reps. Ted Poe and Frank LoBiondo, of Texas and New Jersey, respectively, would be declining to seek re-election.
Goodlatte’s district is solidly Republican and not likely to shift into Democratic hands, but such is not the case in districts like the one held by LoBiondo, which is being targeted by the national body responsible for providing support to House Democrats.
Trump is certainly no friend of Republican Congresspeople, having long opted to take to Twitter to very publicly air his grievances with key Republicans.
House members have mostly been spared the president’s direct, public wrath — at least lately.
Most recently, Trump has taken to Twitter to attack outgoing Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, who he’s accused of being weak on foreign policy.
Earlier in the year, when it was still unsure whether or not his administration’s health care bill would pass the House of Representatives, Trump took to Twitter to attack those House factions opposing it.
There are more indications, too, that Republicans could lose control of the House in 2018 — this past Tuesday saw numerous elections across the country in which Republicans were solidly beaten by Democrats. Virginia and New Jersey, for example, elected Democratic governors, and Democrats picked up seats in numerous state legislatures.
Trump personally campaigned on behalf of Republican candidate for Virginia Governor Ed Gillespie, but that wasn’t enough to give him victory.
Democrats need to win 24 seats presently held by Republicans in order to take a majority in the House; besides those already being targeted, lawmakers are also paying close attention to nearly a dozen more GOP members of Congress who could retire soon.
Featured Image via Brendan Hoffman / Stringer/ Getty Images