Many people’s eyes are already focused on the 2018 midterm elections, with Democrats hoping to ride a wave of anti-Trump sentiment to carry a number of Congressional seats large enough to offset their humiliating 2016 losses and take a majority in at least the House of Representatives if not the Senate as well. The odds have now ticked towards the Democrats actually being able to pull that off.
Making him the third Republican Congressman to make such an announcement in a week, Michigan’s GOP U.S. Representative Dave Trott has announced this Monday that, after two terms in Congress, he will not be seeking re-election. Trott’s announcement puts one more Congressional district in play for Democrats, with the “crystal ball rating” from Dave Sabato at the University of Virginia for the district — Michigan’s 11th — moving from “Likely Republican” to “Toss Up.” The Republican candidate in the race, whoever that turns out to be, will no longer have the incumbent advantage.
Trott cites personal concerns as underlying his decision to not seek re-election.
In a statement to the press, Trott said:
‘Our country’s Founding Fathers envisioned a government where citizens leave private life, serve for a brief time, and then return home to their communities… after careful consideration, I have decided that the best course for me is to spend more time with my family and return to the private sector.’
As it relates to the district’s general attitude towards Democrats, Trump carried Trott’s district by a relatively slim margin — only four percent — in the 2016 general election.
Trott, for what it’s worth, is one of those Republicans who makes a show of gentle opposition to Trump, but that opposition is only based upon preferences for a style other than that employed by the president. For instance, earlier this fall, in the wake of intense, white nationalist fueled violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, Trump came under heavy scrutiny for his refusal to single out the white nationalists for special condemnation.
Trott didn’t expressly condemn the white nationalists either. However, he did post a message on Twitter reading:
‘I think America needs more unity and less divisiveness…meaning [Donald Trump] should focus more on golf & have less press conferences.’
The other two Republicans to most recently announce their intent to not seek re-election to Congress are Reps. Charlie Dent and Dave Reichert of Pennsylvania and Washington, respectively. Dent’s district was carried by President Obama in 2008, meaning that he represents some of the traditionally “on the fence” voters who gave Trump the presidency thanks to their issue-based voting. Reichert, on the other hand, is one of about a couple dozen House Republicans who represent districts that Hillary Clinton won.
If Democrats are able to pull off obtaining a majority in the House of Representatives, then GOP efforts to ram through radical legislative proposals — such as TrumpCare — will be all but made irrelevant. Additionally, for Republicans to no longer have a hold on at least one, if not both Houses of Congress would make impeaching Donald Trump that much easier. In theory, Senate Republicans would be more willing than House Republicans to “jump ship” in the face of evidence against the president and support impeachment.