When incumbents don’t run for reelection the opposing party has a much better chance to pick up a seat, since incumbency usually guarantees a win for whoever is in power.
According to CNN “at least 43 House Republicans have announced they are retiring, running for another office or resigning outright, including Ryan. They’re leaving from all over the map, from southern New Jersey to southern New Mexico.”
Democrats need to gain just 23 congressional seats to take back control of the House where Republicans have been in charge since 2011. And Republican leaders have publicly expressed that they know they have a real problem due to their people leaving.
“We’ve got to find better ways to empower people where they feel like this is worth their time,” said Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas, former chairman National Republican Congressional Committee.
Candidate recruitment has been great for Democrats as record numbers of people are running not just for Congress but for political offices at every level.
For the GOP, candidate recruitment has been horrible, and in Wisconsin’s First District where Ryan is retiring, the only Republican left in the race is an anti-semitic white nationalist.
Midterm elections are always bad for the party that holds the presidency, and they are really bad if the sitting president has low approval ratings. But with everything going on in Washington and the Trump administration, this year could be a total disaster for Republicans.
In fact, this could be why so many of them are throwing in the towel and seeking other employment.
Research has shown that there exists something called “strategic retirement” by politicians. This occurs when an elected official believes they are not likely to win their next election.
All politics are local, and every congressional district is unique, but when a Democrat wins a senate seat in Alabama, and a Pennsylvania congressional seat in a district that Trump won by 20 percentage points, you know something unusual is going on.
There are two kinds of waves currently happening. One is the Blue Wave supporting Democrats. The other is the Wave of Departing Republicans which will make a Democratic Party victory in November even more likely.
In 19 states new candidates for Congress still may file papers to run for office, and there are over 55 vulnerable Republican Congressmen in those states. Which means that even more of them may jump ship in the coming days and weeks, just like rats leaving a vessel that they know is doomed.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.