By Robert A. Vella
GOP strategists are worried that the rash of retirements, the latest being the last black Republican in the House of Representatives (Will Hurd), and an evolving electorate more concerned about climate change will further reduce their chances for victory in 2020. After barely holding control of the Senate in the 2018 midterms despite a very favorable electoral map where they had far fewer seats to defend than Democrats while losing big in the House, in governorships, and in many state legislatures, the GOP faces much more difficult prospects in next year’s presidential election where voter turnout will be significantly higher, where the Senate electoral map will flip against them, and where its candidates will be weighed down by an unpopular president and by unpopular positions on vital issues such as healthcare and climate change.
The GOP leadership is fully aware of these challenges, although they refrain from admitting so in public. But, their concern is revealed through their actions. This is one of the main reasons why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is blocking all votes on election security bills which are badly needed to protect the nation against foreign attempts to undermine our democracy. “Moscow” Mitch understands that Russian interference in 2020 might be the GOP’s best opportunity to keep Donald Trump in the White House and to reassert their control over Congress.
In other news, President Trump’s anti-immigration asylum policies were dealt another blow in federal court, and his nominee (John Ratcliffe) to replace fired Director of National Intelligence (Dan Coats) withdrew after Senate Republicans expressed their disapproval. Support for initiating impeachment proceedings against the president has risen sharply in the House following the congressional testimony of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller. After the Department of Justice – under Attorney General William Barr – declined to prosecute the New York City police officer (Daniel Pantaleo) who killed Eric Garner in 2014, a state administrative judge recommended that the officer should be fired and Pantaleo was immediately suspended.
GOP retirements and ‘Electoral Time Bomb’
Republicans are growing more pessimistic about their odds of taking back the House majority after the surprise news Thursday that Rep. Will Hurd (Texas), the only African American GOP lawmaker in the House, is retiring.
Hurd is the sixth House Republican and the third from the critical state of Texas to announce their departures, dampening GOP hopes for 2020.
Republicans would need to gain either 18 or 19 seats to win back the House majority. The precise total depends on the outcome of a race for a North Carolina district.
Now they will also have to hold on to Hurd’s district, which the Cook Political Report quickly moved from “toss-up” to “lean Democratic.”
WASHINGTON — When election time comes next year, Will Galloway, a student and Republican youth leader at Clemson University, will look for candidates who are strong on the mainstream conservative causes he cares about most, including gun rights and opposing abortion.
But there is another issue high on his list of urgent concerns that is not on his party’s agenda: climate change.
While Donald Trump has led the Republican Party far down the road of denying the scientific consensus of human-caused climate change, Mr. Galloway represents a concern among younger Republicans that has caught the attention of Republican strategists.
In conversations with 10 G.O.P. analysts, consultants and activists, all said they were acutely aware of the rising influence of young voters like Mr. Galloway, who in their lifetimes haven’t seen a single month of colder-than-average temperatures globally, and who call climate change a top priority. Those strategists said lawmakers were aware, too, but few were taking action.
Today’s other news
U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss, an Obama appointee, threw out the policy, finding it to be “inconsistent with” the Immigration and Nationality Act.
The policy has been already blocked by a federal judge in San Francisco and is now being appealed before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Moss found in Friday’s ruling that the policy is in conflict with the law, which states that “any alien who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States (whether or not at a designated port of arrival…), irrespective of such alien’s status, may apply for asylum.”
President Trump announced Friday that Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Tex.), his embattled pick to lead the nation’s intelligence community, was withdrawing from consideration and would remain in Congress.
The lawmaker was facing intense questions about padding his résumé and a lack of experience, which led to a lukewarm reception on Capitol Hill.
One White House official, who requested anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said that Ratcliffe got cold feet because of the lack of support among Republican senators.
More than half of all House Democrats now back opening impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, according to an ABC News analysis.
At least 24 House Democrats have announced support for an impeachment inquiry since special counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony, including several prominent committee chairs and freshman Democrats from formerly GOP-held congressional districts.
The calls for impeachment come as the House has left Washington for the month of August, and as the House Judiciary Committee has launched what’s described as an impeachment investigation to help determine whether the panel will proceed with a formal hearing and drafting articles of impeachment.
NEW YORK (AP) — In a reckoning five years in the making, an administrative judge on Friday recommended firing a New York City police officer over the 2014 chokehold death of an unarmed black man whose dying cries of “I can’t breathe” fueled a national debate over policing, race and the use of force.
The city’s police commissioner will make a final decision this month on whether to fire Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who is white, for his role in Eric Garner’s death. Pantaleo was suspended shortly after the judge’s decision became public, about two weeks after federal prosecutors closed the book on criminal charges.