There is much speculation about why Republican incumbents are announcing early retirement instead of seeking re-election and how this may affect the republican 2024 presidential candidates.
So far five GOP senators have opted out of the 2022 midterms. The speculation is that the GOP are trying to become even more “Trumpian” with candidates to match extremists Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene. This reminds me of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s sudden resignation from SCOTUS, giving Republicans yet another far-right lifetime appointment. There is ample evidence that Kennedy, whose son worked closely with the Trump Org. at Deutsche Bank, was pushed into early retirement by Trump dangling the Gorsuch nomination. Is this a similar powerplay to push vulnerable republican congressmembers out?
This theory would mean that these GOP representatives are succumbing to a coordinated effort by some dark force with a hell of a lot of power who is focused on revenge, i.e., Trump. But that’s where the theory falls apart. Trump no longer has any power, beyond what may be some very dirty secrets that are about to come out in Trump’s pending investigations and almost certain indictments.
Which brings us to the more reasonable scenario. These representatives are bailing out of the path of a tsunami of ugly new information. They believe their chances for re-election are slim, (Roy Blunt won in 2016 by only 3 points and Toomey is very vulnerable), so the House and Senate won’t flip back to the right and they don’t want to be in the minority.
What does that mean for potential republican 2024 presidential candidates? Given the fact that a CPAC straw poll shows only 55% of republicans would vote for D.J. Trump again in 2024, it makes more sense that the GOP is trying to move on and revamp itself. There will probably be the same long list of primary contenders Cotton, Cruz, DeSantis, Ernst, Haley, Hawley, Rubio and Romney, plus some completely new and untarnished GOP up-and-comers.
Then again, it is still possible that the GOP are crazy enough to try to replace these vulnerable incumbent congressmembers with more Trumpian extremists and run Ivanka or Trump Jr. for president. This might be their strategy. But it’s sure to fail.
Chicago native Lorraine Evanoff earned her degree in French from DePaul University then became a Certified Financial Manager. She worked as a finance exec in film production for seven years in Paris, then in Silicon Valley during the dot-com era, and later for various Hollywood production companies, notably as CFO of National Lampoon. She is currently living in Los Angeles with her husband.