As the days until the November elections tick down to zero, Republicans in the House of Representatives are getting more desperate to hold their majority. With many having previously touted their strong relationship with Donald Trump, Republican leadership is now advising incumbents in close races to speak out about what Trump is doing wrong in an effort to hold seats in toss-up districts. This about-face is sure to lead to angry tweets from Trump, but Republicans feel it is in their best interest if they want to hold onto power.
Florida Congressman Carlos Curbelo, a Republican running for reelection in a district won by Hillary Clinton, has openly called Trump’s recent scandals a “sad chapter in our country’s politics,” while adding “He’s making a major mistake by attacking the Mueller probe in such a personal way.” Rep. John Katko, running a Central New York district that Trump lost by 4 points in 2016, stated “Wherever the facts go, if they go towards the president or someone in the White House, they’re not above the law. No one is.”
Even if this sudden change in strategy helps a couple Republicans hold their seats, their favorite tool in stealing elections is rapidly being neutered. As Palmer Report has documented, gerrymandering has long been utilized by Republicans to disproportionately win seats where voter data says they should not. Earlier this year, Pennsylvania’s congressional map was ruled unconstitutional. After the Supreme Court refused to hear the case, a new map was drawn which greatly reduced the Republican built in advantage. Pennsylvania Rep. Ryan Costello decided not to run again this year after the new map made his reelection effort more difficult.
More bad news hit Republicans on Monday when a federal court ruled North Carolina’s map unconstitutional. As it violates Article I of the Constitution, as well as the First and Fourteenth Amendments, the court affirmed that a new map must be drawn. With less than three months until the midterms, the court gave until September 17th for lawmakers to create an acceptable new map. Republicans are expected to challenge this ruling to the Supreme Court, but with the court currently split 4-4, such a vote would revert to the lower court’s decision. While removing gerrymandered maps is long overdue, such decisions could not happen at a worse time for Republicans in Congress.
I’m a ceramic engineer living in Central New York, avid sports fan but find myself more interested in politics lately.