The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) delivered Halloween treats to Democrats in battleground districts on the same day that the House voted on the guidelines of impeachment inquiry hearings. Call it a Halloween prank, call it a gift, but either way the message of the gesture is the same – Republicans expect that the pursuit of impeachment against President Trump on a party-line basis will be a loser at the ballot box in November 2020.

Empty boxes, complete with bows placed on top, were delivered to the offices of congressional members who represent districts the GOP hopes to take back in 2020. A tweet Thursday afternoon initially caught my attention because my own congressional representative, Rep. Lizzie Fletcher, is listed as one of the members who received a box.

The boxes were the ones that can be picked up at the Post Office, not actual moving boxes but the message was delivered. Some staffers, trained on how to handle suspicious items, called Capitol Police to handle the situation. A HuffPo reporter scolded about the gesture and other liberals pointed to the fear of a security threat. It’s a legitimate concern in today’s deeply divided America and the mentally unbalanced among us, but the boxes were labeled as being from the NRCC. So, the NRCC responded to his tweet. This is 2019 and it is how things are done. I don’t make the rules.

Rep. Wexler was not amused. The photo in the tweet, though, clearly shows the wording “Get Packing!” on the box. It’s crudely labeled – handwritten and not professionally labeled – but I don’t think I would have looked at it and immediately thought of a ticking bomb inside or other nefarious materials. My mind did go to the burning bags of dog poop that kids used to place on front porches but that’s just me. Better safe than sorry.

Let’s be honest. This was all a dumb prank that was executed to send a message. Republicans will keep this up until election day in 2020 because the base is riled up about the impeachment circus. The election of Donald Trump gives party members and activists cover to act in a more aggressive way than in past years. Who among us hasn’t lamented at various times in the past that the GOP just doesn’t fight back against Democrat overreach? This gesture with the packing boxes is a really tame one yet in line with the Republican congressmen (and women) who were described as “storming” the hearing room last week to protest the secrecy of the process.

Democrat members of Congress in battleground districts should be worried about their re-election prospects. For instance, the battle between Conor Lamb and Sean Parnell in Pennsylvania is looked upon as a bellwether of the presidential election. In Texas, Lizzie Fletcher defeated long-time incumbent John Culberson in 2018 to become the first Democrat to represent the district since it was created. It is the district that was represented by George H.W. Bush and also Bill Archer, for those old enough to know of whom I reference. In other words, it was a solidly red district until 2018. Fletcher benefitted from the angry anti-Trump voters who pulled the straight ticket lever for all the Democrats on the ballot in 2018. Like most freshman members of Congress, she has been a back-bencher with no legislative credits to her name. She’s a reliable vote for the Democrats in the House, though, and voted with them on the impeachment inquiry guidelines.

In the case of Fletcher, her re-election chances are in limbo. Republicans have recruited a strong challenger in Wesley Hunt, a former Army captain who has already been interviewed on Fox News Channel several times. A poll paid for by the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with House GOP leadership and a major spender in House races, finds Hunt two points ahead of Fletcher. Hunt has to win the Republican primary first but has strong support from the national party which holds weight with local Republican voters. The local party doesn’t play favorites in a party primary. Also, Texas no longer has straight-ticket voting and 2020 will be the first test of that. We’ll have to wait and see if Texas continues creeping towards more Democrat victories or not.

One Democrat congresswoman scolded the waste of resources since the Capitol Hill police were brought into it. I don’t recall seeing a lot of that concern during anti-Trump protests, or protests against Trump nominees inside the buildings of Congress.

Expect more of these shenigans in this election cycle. Silly or not, it keeps the base motivated and fired up to get out and vote. Those moving boxes may come in handy.