Malacandra.me

Why change when there’s so much winning?

Why change when there's so much winning?

by digby


I'll have what they're smoking:

With a brutal finality, the extent of the Republicans’ collapse in the House came into focus last week as more races slipped away from them and their losses neared 40 seats.

Yet nearly a month after the election, there has been little self-examination among Republicans about why a midterm that had seemed at least competitive became a rout.

President Trump has brushed aside questions about the loss of the chamber entirely, ridiculing losing incumbents by name, while continuing to demand Congress fund a border wall despite his party losing many of their most diverse districts. Unlike their Democratic counterparts, Republicans swiftly elevated their existing slate of leaders with little debate, signaling a continuation of their existing political strategy.

And neither Speaker Paul D. Ryan nor Representative Kevin McCarthy, the incoming minority leader, have stepped forward to confront why the party’s once-loyal base of suburban supporters abandoned it — and what can be done to win them back.

The quandary, some Republicans acknowledge, is that the party’s leaders are constrained from fully grappling with the damage Mr. Trump inflicted with those voters, because he remains popular with the party’s core supporters and with the conservatives who will dominate the caucus even more in the next Congress.

But now a cadre of G.O.P. lawmakers are speaking out and urging party officials to come to terms with why their 23-seat majority unraveled so spectacularly and Democrats gained the most seats they had since 1974.

“There has been close to no introspection in the G.O.P. conference and really no coming to grips with the shifting demographics that get to why we lost those seats,” said Representative Elise Stefanik, an upstate New York Republican who is planning to repurpose her political action committee to help Republican women win primaries in 2020. “I’m very frustrated and I know other members are frustrated.”

Ms. Stefanik said there had been “robust private conversations” but she urged Republicans to conduct a formal assessment of their midterm effort.

The G.O.P. response, or lack thereof, to the midterm backlash stands in stark contrast to the shake-ups and soul-searching that followed its loss of Congress in 2006 and consecutive presidential defeats in 2012.

This Town Once Feared the 10-Story Waves. Then the Extreme Surfers Showed Up.
House officials indicate that they will pursue an after-action report, but it is unclear how far it will go in diagnosing why they lost the popular vote by more raw votes than any time in history.

Many of the lawmakers who lost their races or did not run again say the party has a profound structural challenge that incumbents are unwilling to fully face: Mr. Trump’s deep toxicity among moderate voters, especially women.

With most of the Republicans who lost hailing from suburban seats, those who remaining represent red-hued districts where the president is still well-liked.

“Now the party is Trump,” said Representative Tom Rooney of Florida, who at 48 decided to retire, “so we follow his lead.”

Why would they re-evaluate? According to Trump is was a historic victory. That's the bizarroworld they're living in now and nothing will change it until they are completely shut out of government and even then they will just say it was all because Trump wasn't a "real Republican." Whether that will work will depend a lot on how them media portrays it and I don't have high hopes. They are clearly yearning to be able to switch gears and call the Democrats a bunch of extremists and insist they start cutting "entitlements" and being "fiscally responsible."

But for now, this is where we are and I don't see it changing any time soon. The Republicans just get battier and battier and at some point they're going to do something so catastrophic that we can't ever fix it. I don't know when that's going to be but Donald Trump has made that more likely than things are going to get worse before they get better.

And anyway, it's not as if they haven't had their moments: