For awhile there, it was fair to say that House Republicans were tripping over each other on their way to abrupt retirements, abrupt resignations, and other forms of self-ending their careers. At this point it’s more accurate to compare it to a stampede of House Republicans running away screaming.
GOP Congressman Bill Flores announced his retirement today, joining a list that’s grown so long, we’ve lost count [Update: shortly after we posted this story, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that GOP Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner is also retiring]. Like many of his Republican colleagues who have recently announced the end of their careers, Flores is from Texas. And like many of his fellow retirees, Flores – who is aged 65 – is younger than the age where members of Congress usually consider retiring. So what’s going on?
This one’s not too difficult to figure out. Donald Trump’s 2020 poll numbers get uglier by the day. If he ends up performing that poorly (or even half that poorly), the down ballot effect will wipe out scores of House Republicans who would otherwise have had a good shot at reelection. But there appears to be more to it.
Like some of his fellow GOP retirees, Bill Flores is in a district that’s so Republican-leaning, Democrats will have a hard time winning his seat even if they blow Donald Trump out of the water. This points to a growing number of House Republicans simply wanting out, period, without regard for whether they can get reelected. Trump has destroyed what was left of the GOP and everyone knows it. In addition, this raises the question of whether House Republicans know something we don’t, when it comes to potential criminal charges against the GOP leadership once Trump is gone.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report