A perfect storm might be brewing and the Republicans should take note. A slew of House Republican retirements, party discontent, changing voter demography, and ideological calcification are chipping away at the Republican edifice, and it provides Democrats an opportunity to bounce back with a vengeance.
Because of the 2018 blue wave in the House, Republican members, now in the minority, are beginning to peel off and announce retirement plans. This has the party concerned that more will follow, specifically more members in swing districts and districts with now unfavorable demographics or newly-drawn district maps.
The only black House Republican, Will Hurd, is one such member who is retiring. It seems likely that his seat will be taken by a Democrat, given that his margin of victory in 2018 was exceedingly small. His absence from the party solidifies the Republican party’s image as an entrenched white good ol’ boys club. As American racial demographics shift toward no longer having a majority, Republicans appear poised to hunker-down on identity politics to retain the white minority and alienate the diverse majority. Even if the diversity of the party explodes, their ideologies are often hostile to many of the largely liberal-minded non-white Americans who view them as xenophobic and protectionists for a bygone era of white hegemony.
The Republican party’s turbulence doesn’t stop there. Behind-the-scenes discontent with Trump and party leadership more broadly is surfacing, and public opinion on healthcare and climate are shifting to favor the Democrats. After having a taste of the Affordable Care Act, voters of all stripes embraced the security of health coverage; indeed, a good many are alive today because of it. Consequently, the industry-fetishizers in the Republican party are out-of-sync with voters on this one. The blue wave in 2018 can be attributed in large part to the Democrats’ embracing of the ACA.
Amazingly, in spite of decades of conservative propaganda, Republican voters are beginning to be seriously concerned about global warming. This is the greatest existential threat to humanity that we have ever faced, by a significant margin. Diplomacy can stop nuclear war, but it can’t stop the earth from warming so much that we no longer have the ice caps, glaciers, coral reefs, the Amazon, water, food, or arable soil. Republican lawmakers are hideously behind on this issue, and continue to do the bidding of the fossil fuel industry and lobby. I strongly believe that unless they start to work with Democrats to stop global warming, this issue alone may be enough to destroy the party’s support among voters, who now see that the GOP is more interested in short-term profits than being patriots.