What GOP Exodus?

It’s no secret that the New York Times is pretty far left. Michelle Cottle is their lead editorial writer for national politics“, previously at the Atlantic (also far left, but at least the Atlantic does research), NewsWeek and The Daily Beast.

In short, her lefty credentials are impeccable. Which gives reason to question her honesty and accuracy in an article with a flame-bait headline… Such as The Republican Exodus From Congress.

And then, the next day, another NYTimes article, Deprived of Power, House Republicans Head for the Exits.

In it, she makes the claim that Republicans are retiring at a catastrophic rate, due to the national scene. So let’s take a look.

In this table, the fifth column is either R(ed), r, t (for “toss-up”), b(lue), B for how solid the replacement prospects are for the Republicans. e.g. Martha Roby’s district is Republican, no chance the Democrats will win it, so it’s an R. Tom Marino’s replacement is already Republican, so also an R. Rob Woodall’s Atlanta-suburb district is likely to be a very close race, either a “t” or “b”. (I’m calling it “t” because it’s been GOP for quite a while.)

Keep in mind that only a b/B represent an actual (likely) loss for Republicans, regardless of Cottle’s claims.
Mike Conaway, TX1671Ret.R
Rob Bishop, UT1668Ret.R
Bradley Byrne, AL564Running
Liz Cheney, WY452Still in office
Considering Senate run
Rob Woodall, GA8
(5 terms)
49Ret. (Family,
after father’s death)
Tom Marino, PA966Resigned
(New job)
Martha Roby, AL943Ret. (Difficult
primary ahead.)
Pete Olson, TX1157Ret.t
Paul Mitchell, MI463Ret.R
Susan Brooks, IN959Ret. (“Personal”, after
visit with son.)
Greg Gianforte, MT258Running
John Ratcliffe, TX553Nominated
Dir. Nat. Def.
Justin Amash, MI839Switched IndepR

Justin Amash is an interesting case, in that he switched from Republican to Independent simultaneously with withdrawing from the Freedom Caucus… which he helped found, and primarily identifies as a Libertarian. Which puts him well to the right of the GOP on some issues. But, regardless, Michigan’s 3rd District won’t elect a Democrat.

So out of these 13 examples (and, granted, that seems a high number… the question is, is it really?), just over half are actual retirements. And only one of those is a toss-up. None of the current vacancies are in leans-Blue districts.

So why the retiring wave? Martha was going to lose the GOP Primary; her retiring solidifies the already solid GOP seat. Brooks has been clear that it’s about family… Indiana is a long way from Alaska where her son is. Woodall has been clear it’s about family also; he was shaken after his father’s death.

For retiring (rather than switching jobs or running for another position) GOP Senators, that leaves an average age of ((71+68+57+63) / 4) == 65 years old. Which is the normal age for retirement.

Summary / Conclusion

Despite this “wave” of retirements…
  • The odds are that of these 13 seats, the GOP loses possibly one, at most two, excluding Amash, whose voting style isn’t likely to change.
  • Two cases cited the vitriol or Trump, but neither one is in-play for the Democrats.
Keep in mind that there are 435 seats in the House, of which Republicans only hold 197. (In the House and in the Senate, the minority party generally has a higher attrition rate than the majority party; it’s no fun being dis-empowered.)

So, as expected, Michelle Cottle is taking data out-of-context, misrepresenting it and providing a completely unrealistic interpretation of it, to keep the far left subscribed and reading. The Dispatch from Reality is different.

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