Monday, December 3, 2018

All Is Calm

The GOP plan going forward is “What, we worry?”

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.

And considering how much they paid attention the last time they attempted introspection — remember the famous post-2012 election “autopsy” where they castigated themselves for not reaching out to minorities, women, and even promised to stop being the Stupid Party (oh, where is Bobby Jindal now?) — they’re even less likely now that they have an id-and-ego driven president and a House caucus that is only too eager to follow him and his neo-Nazi base into oblivion.

Please proceed, lemmings.