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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Leaving the Hill

In Defying the Odds, we discuss congressional elections as well as the presidential race The update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.

So far this year, House Republicans are retiring at a faster clip than Democrats.  One problem is the self-reinforcing expectation that the GOP will not regain the majority. Emily Cochrane and Julie Hirschfeld Davis at NYT:
A majority of those who have announced their retirements had safe seats in Republican districts and could have easily been re-elected. But the day-to-day realities of Democratic rule — already brought home by the 2018 midterm elections and the ascension of Speaker Nancy Pelosi — have left their mark.
Curtailed access to convenient meeting rooms, a schedule set by the majority and no control over the legislative agenda are only some of the perpetual complaints of whichever party is in the minority in the House.
“When candidates would ask me, ‘What’s life like in the minority?’ I would say, ‘It’s great,’” said former Representative Steve Israel, Democrat of New York. With a chuckle, he added, “But it’s not so great.”
...
Republican strategists and aides suspect that some of the impending retirements will come not only from members tired of Washington gridlock, but from other members facing the loss of prized committee power.
“Some of it is the minority and the nastiness, no doubt about it,” said Representative Don Bacon, Republican of Nebraska. But he added, the term limits were a factor behind the conference “losing great people
...
On Capitol Hill, a rude awakening for less-senior Republicans who have never served in the minority may have also contributed to the number of departures. Nearly three-quarters of the Republican conference — 142 members in all — are in the minority for the first time in an institution where the majority carries all of the power, dictating which bills are considered and when, and what language can be debated and how.