More than 50 House members chose not to seek re-election in 2018, and a new report from nonprofit groups Issue One and the R Street Institute examines what drove so many to that decision.
The report doesn’t mention President Trump at all. It does paint a picture of an increasingly dysfunctional and partisan legislative branch that has changed dramatically in recent decades in ways that congressional observers say started with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
“Interviews with more than half a dozen departing members and some recently retired members revealed three major drivers behind the surge of retirements: a legislative process dominated by party leaders, the constant pressure to raise money, and political dysfunction plaguing Congress from top to bottom,” Nick Penniman of Issue One and Marian Currinder of the R Street Institute write in RealClear Policy. “The picture painted by these departing Republicans and Democrats lays bare a disturbing reality: Congress is fast becoming a place that repels, rather than attracts, public servants who want to get things done.”