The Republican Retirement Parade Is Getting Absurd

Another one bites the dust.

empty seats

The returning members of the House Republican caucus.r. nial bradshaw/Flickr

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Another Republican politician is packing up his bags and heading home. On Monday, New Jersey GOP Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, announced that he would retire in January, bring the total number of House Republicans who have resigned or intend to retire up to 23. (Another 11 Republicans are vacating their seats to run for either governor or Senate.) Frelinghuysen, the scion of one of America’s oldest (and least well-known) political dynasties, represents a Republican-leaning North Jersey seat that President Donald Trump won by less than one percentage point in 2016, and was a top Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee target going into this fall even before he stepped aside.

Some of those seats, such as Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s Miami-Dade district and Rep. Darrell Issa’s in Southern California, are top Democratic targets, but many—particularly in deep-red parts of Texas—are generally considered safe for Republicans. Every member has their own considerations, but the through-line is that Republicans in positions of power have concluded that in the next two years, their jobs are only going to get worse. Frelinghuysen is one of eight committee chairs who is leaving.

Although he has held his seat since 1995, Frelinghuysen appeared to have been caught off guard by the grassroots progressive opposition to Trump in his district. He was out-raised by two Democratic challengers in the third quarter of last year, and when he received an angry letter from a constituent last spring complaining about his inaccessibility, Frelinghuysen sent the letter to a board member of the bank where she worked. (The constituent left her job at the bank.) Around the same time, he told constituents during a tele-townhall “it would be nice for you to back off.”

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Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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