Republicans in Congress strategizing to win back the House say the rush to the exits reflects the depressing reality of life in the minority and a pessimistic view of the GOP’s chances of regaining the majority.

“We are in the minority. That is never much fun in the House,” said one senior Republican member of Congress, who asked for anonymity to provide a candid assessment. “The odds are against us retaking the majority.”

Transitioning from the all-powerful majority to the back-bench minority can refocus one’s outlook on public service, said Tom Davis, a former Virginia congressman who ran the National Republican Congressional Committee.

“Moving from the majority to the minority changes your mindset about why am I here? Am I getting things done?” Davis said. “It’s a very frustrating life for some of these members right now. There’s been no pay raise for 11 years. You’ve got to maintain two households.”