Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Michigan Rep. Dave Trott. Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent. Washington Rep. Dave Reichart. What do these politicians and many more have in common? They’ve all decided to retire, rather than seek reelection next year.
We sit almost one year out from the 2018 midterm elections, and the Republicans have a problem. Well two problems actually. One is name Donald J Trump, and the other is named Steve Bannon. Barring a major turnaround in his approval ratings, he’s going to go into the midterms next year with lower ratings than President Obama had in both 2010 and 2014.
In 2010, President Obama had an approval rating of 44.7% according to a Gallup poll taken in October of that year. Yet despite that, Republicans gained a whopping 63 seats in the House and 6 in the Senate. The 2014 midterm elections saw President Obama sitting with an approval rating of 40%, and despite the huge gains in both chambers of Congress four years earlier; Republicans still gained 13 seats in the House and 9 more in the Senate. You may be asking, where does Trump’s approval rating currently sit? According to the latest Realclearpolitics.com average, he’s sitting at 39.7%. Now, mind you, that’s coming off of both Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, where one would expect a bump of approval ratings to occur as Americans rally around their President during a time of national emergency.
The problem for President Trump is the man himself. He is a classic case of narcissistic personality disorder, he cannot help but poke actual conservatives in the eye constantly. Just this past week, he rejected the debt ceiling proposals of both Speaker Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, something his own White House admitted was done out of spite; and cozied right up to Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer taking their first offer and getting nothing back in a supposed negotiation. Time and again, on issue after issue, President Trump has shown that he’s incapable of being trusted by conservatives. As a result of his, at best, weak leadership style; many Republican lawmakers are simply choosing to retire rather than be subjected to whims of a president who is so far out of his depth and never should have gotten the position, to begin with.
To make matters worse, former Chief Strategist of the Trump campaign Steve Bannon is coordinating with Bob Mercer to run a slew of Trump like candidates in the midterms next year. It would be the worst possible thing that could happen for the future of the conservative movement for any of these candidates to win. The last thing the party needs are more reasons for democrats to label it as racist or sexist or protectionist.
Make no mistake, after two years of seeing how a President Trump runs the government; the American people will be none too eager to elect more politicians that sound and act just as he does. Running these Bannon-picked candidates will mean ceding countless seats to the Democratic Party next fall. Oh, and just to put the finishing touches on this crapburger we’ve been handed, is that all of the lawmakers who are now retiring; their seats are likely to switch parties anyway. As of right now, there have been 17 Republicans choose retirement, with another 14 expected if they choose to retire at the historical norms from here on out. That would be a total of 31 conservative lawmakers leaving and, in all likelihood 31 liberal ones taking their place.
You take those 31, add any candidates that Bannon picks that would potentially go up against Democratic candidates, with the noose of the Trump administration hanging around their collective neck and it’s a trifecta of horrible events. You’re really left looking at what President Obama described in 2010 as a “shellacking” only this time, it will be the Republican Party on the receiving end of things because we have allowed our party to be taken over the likes of Donald Trump and Steve Bannon. It’s going to be a devastation that these two unleash on the party and there’s no way of knowing how bad the damage will be by the time the dust settles.