The Sunday shows are larded up this morning with Democratic 2020 hopefuls but in between the Bernies and the Buttigieges there’s a pol worth watching. That’s Rep. Will Hurd, the congressman from a Texas border district who rocked the GOP this week by announcing his retirement from Congress at the age of 41. He’ll sit down with Margaret Brennan on “Face the Nation” to explain his thinking and what his departure means for the party. Short version: Nothing good.
It makes it much more likely the GOP will lose the district in 2020 (Hillary Clinton carried it in ’16); the Cook Political Report has already moved it to Lean D.
It makes it that much harder for the GOP to win control of Congress – Republicans need to flip 18 seats, and losing Hurd’s TX-23 district raises the number to 19.
Like Ryan’s announcement in 2018, it sends the message to GOP donors and potential recruits that flipping the House might be out of reach for Republicans.
It eliminates more diversity for the GOP — Hurd was the sole African-American member of the House Republican caucus.
Several other Trump-lukewarm Republicans have retired recently, suggesting that the party’s caucus in the House is likely to get Trumpier next year — and smaller, as Democrats get a crack at winnable seats like Hurd’s without having to face an incumbent. Expect some chitchat also this morning about the GOP’s prospects in Texas, which nearly went blue in last year’s Senate race and is turning bluer, as even Ted Cruz admits. A FiveThirtyEight poll of the state published this week found Trump trailing Warren, Harris, and Bernie Sanders there, a result that won’t hold next fall but which shows how reluctant many Texans are initially to pull the lever for Trump again. The day when Texas goes Democratic in a presidential election won’t arrive in 2020 but demographic shifts guarantee that it’ll arrive soon-ish. When it does, where will the GOP go to recoup those lost electoral votes?
With Hurd’s departure, Sen. Tim Scott will become the lone black Republican still in Congress. He’s also booked this morning for “Face the Nation,” where he’ll be asked about that distinction and of course Trump’s recent war of words with a host of black Democrats, from Ilhan Omar to Elijah Cummings to Al Sharpton. What does a fiscally conservative black American like Scott find in the modern GOP that appeals to him, between the president’s sporadic “go back where you came from” tweeting and the blowout budget bill the Senate just passed?
Elsewhere this morning, the White House is dispatching top advisors to assure the public that All Is Well in the spiraling trade war with China. Mick Mulvaney will be on “This Week,” Peter Navarro will be on “Fox News Sunday,” and Larry Kudlow will be on “Meet the Press” and “State of the Union” to insist that everything’s going to plan and the new round of $300 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports certainly won’t threaten job growth. If none of that grabs you, tune into “This Week” for a rare Sunday morning appearance by Al Gore, who’ll be on to chatter about climate change and to call Trump every bad name he can think of. The full line-up is at the AP.