Even as a particularly loud group of House Republicans keeps saying and doing increasingly obnoxious things in the name of trying to prop up a failing Donald Trump, another (less deranged) group of House Republicans is quietly painting a different picture: they’re quitting. Now you can add yet another House GOP name to the pile.
House Republican Greg Walden has decided to retire from Congress instead of running for reelection in 2020. What’s notable here is that Walden represents a deeply red district and he just finished winning reelection by seventeen points in 2018. Even if there’s another major blue wave in 2020, he’s not exactly in danger of getting caught up in it. So why is he quitting?
Walden is offering the usual generic platitudes about how it’s time to “close the public service chapter of my life” without really saying why he’s quitting. But the answer doesn’t seem to be too difficult to parse. Before the end of this term, Walden – and all the other House Republicans – are going to have to vote “yes” or “no” on Donald Trump’s impeachment.
Their votes won’t matter in the sense that impeachment will make it through the House based on the Democratic majority alone, whether any House Republicans join them or not. But the reality is that the House Republicans will have to vote on it. If they vote to impeach, they’ll likely face a pro-Trump challenger in the Republican primary. If they vote not to impeach, they end up forever on the anti-American side of history. By not bothering to run for reelection, they’re freeing themselves up to vote however they want – and that’s not a good sign for Trump.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report