February 1, 2018

Gowdy Joins Exiting GOPers, but Demo Hopes Take a Hit

Collapsing fundraising and poll numbers show that pouting Democrats are beating themselves.

On Wednesday, the day after President Donald Trump’s triumphant State of the Union address, Rep. Trey Gowdy announced his retirement. Why? Gowdy, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has been a bulldog for Republicans in going after Democrat corruption from Benghazi to the Russia collusion fiasco. That makes sense because he’s a prosecutor — and he says he wants to return to the judicial system. “Whatever skills I may have are better utilized in a courtroom than in Congress,” Gowdy said, “and I enjoy our justice system more than our political system.” On that note, there just happened to be a vacancy pop up on the Fourth Circuit Court this week, so don’t be surprised to see Trump appoint Gowdy to the seat, which perhaps could be a springboard to the Supreme Court someday. We can only hope!

Gowdy joins 40 other House Republicans in heading for the exits, compared to just 16 Democrats. Nine outgoing GOPers are committee chairmen, and committee term limits play a big role there. As Dan McLaughlin put it, “The days of chairmen who ruled their fiefdoms for decades are over (at least as long as Republicans are in charge), and it turns out that term limits for committee chairs are pretty effective at forcing steady turnover without the heavier-handed resort to banning voters from continuing to re-elect long-term Representatives.”

Moreover, midterm elections usually bode well for the opposition party, and Democrats have made no secret of their status as dreamers who hope to retake Congress. But will they be able to ride a campaign against peace and prosperity to electoral victory?

Count us among the skeptical. Beyond Democrats’ lousy strategy, here are some tea leaves to consider. First, Republicans are vastly outraising Democrats. In fact, the Republican National Committee just announced record fundraising in 2017, a non-election year. And its haul was twice that of the DNC.

“Our strong fundraising numbers reflect voters’ optimism and continued support as President Trump fulfills his promises to the American people,” said RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. “In his first year, President Trump delivered a historic tax cut to the middle-class, slashed regulations, and grew our economy. We look forward to electing more Republican leaders to Congress who will support President Trump’s winning agenda on behalf of the American people.”

Second, Democrats’ lead in generic polling has plummeted from 15% to just 2%. After 2016 in particular, we think every American should suspect polling, so take from that what you will. Yet it’s hard to think Democrats won’t be hurt by the spectacle of scoffing at tax cuts and stubbornly staying seated as Trump talked of rising wages, pride in America and the like in his State of the Union.

Update: Then again on Gowdy, Fox News’ Bret Baier tweets, “[email protected] confirms SC GOP Congressman Trey Gowdy, who announced this week he would not seek re-election, turned down a nomination for 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.”

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