Republicans seem poised to win big in the 2018 midterm elections. The midterms will be a measure of Donald Trump’s success, and if we take him at his word, then Republicans should expand their already decent majority in Congress.
The only problem is finding candidates. It seems that some within the GOP are scared to run for open seats in Congress. The political atmosphere is particularly volatile. Some candidates are unsure how to navigate allegiance to President Trump.
He changes his positions so quickly that candidates are scared to agree or disagree with him too strongly. This is why some surefire 2018 candidates have chosen instead to take appointed positions in Trump’s cabinet instead of running.
For example, Ryan Zinke was a lock for a seat in Montana but instead became Secretary of the Interior. Meanwhile in Wisconsin, GOP representative Sean Duffy decided he would not run against his Democratic opponent.
Democrats offer an obvious explanation. “They have an unpopular president and they are pushing unpopular policies, which makes for difficulty recruiting,” said Democratic Senator Brian Schatz, from Hawaii. “The map is favorable for the GOP, but they are trying to sell the public something it really doesn’t want, and the public is rejecting it.”
“All of the hand-wringing and consternation about recruiting is largely manufactured,”
elaborated Kevin McLaughlin, who previously worked in an organizing role for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “I can’t think of a reason right now, like literally any, for someone to get in at this stage.”
President Trump has poisoned the political establishment in more ways than one. It remains to be seen whether his election will provide a boon to Republicans who had low expectations coming into 2016, or will damn the party for years to come. Already different factions are developing, as some support Trump’s unorthodox style and others prefer traditional conservative policies.