The news that at least 20 House Republicans have decided not to seek reelection in 2020 has some pundits predicting that the GOP will lose more seats in 2020, Many want to blame the president. Yet rather than reading these retirements as a sign that Republicans are preparing for another bad election cycle, conservatives should see the massive turnover as a great opportunity for the GOP.
The fears that these retirements will bring in another wave of losses for House Republicans is overblown. It is true that under normal conditions, this many open seats could be politically detrimental to a political party. Incumbents no doubt, have many advantages when it comes to winning reelection. However, the members of Congress retiring during this election cycle are in some of the safest Republican districts in the country and there is no real chance of these seats flipping to Democratic control of the 20 seats, only three districts — Texas’ 17th, 22nd and 23rd — will be truly competitive. In each of the other districts, President Trump won by double digits.
Republicans should instead take advantage of these empty seats in Republican leaning-districts and run candidates who want to deliver on fiscally conservative principles that will move America forward.
From 2010 until 2018, voters across the country gave the GOP a majority in the House of Representatives, and for two of those years, they delivered them all three branches of government.
What did the Republican House do with all that opportunity American voters gave them? They squandered it.
Speakers Paul Ryan and John Boehner didn’t deliver on their conservative promises to voters. Aside from a few bills like President Trump’s tax cuts and funding for 9/11 first responders, the GOP’s decade of control in the House was marked by exploding deficits and a failure to deliver conservative victories on immigration, welfare reform, or health care.
Republican members of Congress did not deliver on their promises and offered no vision to counter what progressives in the Democratic Party were pushing. That’s why Trump was elected. All Speaker Paul Ryan had to offer were the same recycled ideas that Republicans had pushed for decades. Rather than fight for Trump’s plans to reform the legal immigration policy to merit-based, Ryan’s allies in the House sabotaged the bill. In the end, House leadership never really fought for Trump’s policies to make America great or fight for promised conservative principles.
It’s part of the reason more than 85 House Republicans either retired or lost reelection over the last two years. Voters wanted congressmen who advocated for them and supported the president’s plans instead of serving special interest groups and fighting against the president.
So with most of these 20 seats being safe for Republicans and dozens of Democrats sitting in seats Trump won in 2016, Republicans have the chance to elect real leaders who will fight for conservative reforms. It’s about time we have fresh blood in Washington who can offer new ideas and be ambitious enough to lead.
Republicans shouldn’t fear the retirement of these politicians, many of whom have been in office for decades. This is a positive development for both the GOP and the American public. Republicans may finally get the few good men and women needed to move the country forward with sound fiscal conservative ideas.
Jim Renacci represented Ohio’s 16th congressional district as a Republican from 2011 to 2019. He is the chairman of Ohio’s Future Foundation.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.