The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Just minutes before South Carolina Republican Trey Gowdy announced that he would forego a bid for reelection to the House of Representatives, a train carrying several GOP lawmakers crashed into a truck in Virginia.

The accident killed the truck’s driver and injured several members of Congress, making it no laughing matter. But it’s hard not to notice the symbolism of a Republican party on track toward disaster in November.

Gowdy tweeted on Wednesday morning that he intends to leave Capitol Hill, quoting the Bible and expressing a desire to return to the judicial branch. “Whatever skills I may have are better utilized in a courtroom than in Congress, and I enjoy our justice system more than our political system,” he wrote.

That makes sense on a few levels. The 53-year-old is a former prosecutor who has driven colleagues to frustration with a stubborn resolve to beat investigatory dead horses, including Benghazi, since winning South Carolina’s Fourth District in 2011. He is currently chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and chaired the House Select Committee on Benghazi, which blew up as an embarrassment to the Republican leadership.

Taken in context, Gowdy’s decision underscores a trend of House Republicans dropping out of midterm races before they can even begin. By January 31, a total of 33 incumbent GOP lawmakers have announced that they will not run for reelection in 2018, compared to just 15 Democratic reps who will not seek another term. Nine of them are committee chairs, another extraordinary statistic.

On average, only 22 members of the U.S. House of Representatives decide not to defend their seats in a given election cycle.

Other GOP incumbents who are retiring or otherwise not seeking midterm reelection include Senators Bob Corker of Tennessee, Jeff Flake of Arizona,Orrin Hatch of Utah and that state’s Rep, Jason Chaffetz.  Hatch is currently the longest-serving Republican in the Senate.

Is there a Trump effect? Saddled with a President whose job approval ratings have hit several historic lows, speculation is rampant that Republicans in Congress are quitting while they’re ahead. Generic polling for November favors Democrats, and the president manages to inflame the public with harsh rhetoric and blundering policy moves each time the GOP begins to gain ground.

Republicans seem to be running scared. As Russell Berman of The Atlantic writes, “If you want to see a political wave forming a year before an election, watch the retirements…2018 is shaping up ominously for Republicans.”

Gowdy might be misled from an ideological point of view, but nobody can accuse him of being a dummy. Like a record number of fellow GOP members, “The Bulldog” is finding an exit door before Trump burns the whole house down.

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Dr. Mehmet Oz and Sean Hannity

Youtube Screenshot

Fox News prime-time host Sean Hannity is priming his audience to see election fraud in any defeat for Dr. Mehmet Oz, his favored candidate who currently leads the GOP primary for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania with two percent of votes outstanding. If the fast-closing hedge funder Dave McCormick takes the lead and the Oz camp claims the election has been stolen, it could set up a potentially explosive proxy war with Hannity’s colleague Laura Ingraham, whose Fox program favors McCormick and has suggested he is likely to prevail when all the votes are counted.

The GOP primary was a chaotic slugfest that split Fox’s slate of pro-GOP hosts in an unusually public way. Hannity was Oz’s most prominent supporter, reportedly securing the support of former President Donald Trump and using his program to endorse the TV personality, give him a regular platform, and target the challenge from right-wing commentator and Fox & Friends regular Kathy Barnette. Ingraham, meanwhile, used her Fox program (which airs in the hour following Hannity’s) to promote McCormick, criticize Oz, and defend Barnette.

Keep reading... Show less
Youtube Screenshot

Overturning Roe v. Wade is very unpopular, yet another poll confirms. Nearly two out of three people, or 64 percent, told the NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist poll that Roe should not be overturned, including 62 percent of independents. The poll also includes some good news for Democrats.

According to the poll, the prospect of the Supreme Court striking down Roe in the most extreme way is motivating Democratic voters more than Republicans: Sixty-six percent of Democrats say it makes them more likely to vote in November compared with 40 percent of Republicans. That echoes a recent NBC poll finding a larger rise in enthusiasm about voting among Democrats than Republicans.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}