When Donald Trump ran for president in 2018, one of his promises was to “drain the swamp,” a figure of speech referring to the entrenched political careerists who operate in government not to serve but to line their pockets.
Both political parties have their career politicians who make deals and vote not for their constituents but for themselves and their pals.
For the Republican party, the rise of the constitutional conservative movement as well as the flow of former Democrats into the party has created more division within the party, and those serving as Republicans have to align themselves with traditional values or be labeled a RINO.
It seems that the new year, the upcoming unprecedented election, and the conservative movement have inspired at least a few Republican politicians to decide to back away from public service and define their place in that service.
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MI), 71, a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, announced Thursday that he will retire at the end of this year, saying, “After a lot of thoughtful discussion with my family, I have decided not to file for re-election and retire at the end of my term in December.” He has served since 2009.
Last week, there was also an announcement from Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), saying that he would not seek another term as well. Lamborn holds what’s considered a “safe seat,” which ensures other Republicans will try to ease into the slot.
Rep. John Curtis (R-UT) is leaving his seat to vie for the Senate seat being vacated by Mitt Romney (R-UT).
Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) is resigning his House seat in order to take the private position of president of Youngstown State University.
It is not a surprise that disgraced former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) will cut his time in Congress short, departing later this month. The new Speaker is surging forward with decisions that McCarthy refused to address, and his fast addressing of the issues shows McCarthy in a pathetic light.
This week on Tuesday, Congressman Larry Bucshon (R-IN) became the latest to announce his retirement, writing in a statement obtained by Axios, “It became clear to me over the Christmas holiday… that the time has come to bring my season in public service to a conclusion.” AP reports that Bucshon will not seek reelection to an eighth term this year and will retire after 14 years.
A source close to the House GOP told Axios that several factors contributed to the recent spate of retirements. First, spending an extended recess in the comforts of home reminded members about the possibilities beyond an acrimonious Washington. Given that there is always a holiday recess, that seems an unlikely reason for the exodus this year.
Second, all retirements came shortly before the candidacy filing deadline, allowing GOP leadership to help orchestrate the election of their preferred replacements, but that would normally happen in an election year.
The resignations of longtime members of Congress are an opening for conservatives to elect more traditional and non-entrenched representatives in their places. Republicans, of course, hold the majority and hope to increase that majority as the opportunity to do so arises.
Not only Republicans are backing away from service in Congress, but Democrats are facing around a dozen resignations within their ranks, another sign that additional money will be spent on both sides to influence primary elections in currently safe seats.
RINOs and liberal Republicans leaving Congress align with the massive rise in Trump-supporting voters, some of whom are MAGA originals but many of whom are those who are seeing the light in the darkness that has been the Biden years.
Trump remains the leading Republican candidate in polls and surges ahead among all voters as well. With the slow demise of Ron DeSantis as a potential candidate, Nikki Haley has seen more than any other contender vie for the nomination against Trump, leading to rumors that Trump may consider her for a VP slot.
But Haley has enamoured herself to Democrats and Uniparty members, leaving all conservatives and constitutionalists firmly behind President Trump.
Trump’s lead in the polls has drawn House GOP leadership fully into his orbit, with Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA), and Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN) all announcing their endorsements in recent months.
Although some Republicans are yet to weigh in, as of last month, Trump was endorsed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, and Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Senators who are firmly in the Trump camp are Indiana’s Mike Braun, Alabama’s Katie Britt, Tennessee’s Marsha Blackburn, North Carolina’s ?Ted Budd, North Dakota’s Kevin Cramer, Montana’s Steve Daines, and the “back in the Trump camp” south Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham.