By the latest count, we are now up to at least 38 House Republicans announcing early retirement, plus 17 Democrats. Both counts are exceptionally high for this early in the cycle.
Why are more than one in nine current House members calling it quits? Being a member of Congress in 2018 is a miserable job, and it’s not likely to get much better in 2019.
In an era of national elections, candidates have little control over their own electoral fates. In an era of big outside money, they can’t even control their own campaigns. And because party leadership centrally plans so much of what happens in Congress, members have no ability to exercise any independent policymaking capacity. Divisive polarization means constant gridlock and a Congress whose main legislative activity is voting on whether to keep the government funded every few weeks. Hardly rewarding work.
Individual members of Congress have less autonomy and control than at any other time in recent memory. No wonder they’re retiring in droves.
So, we've got a job that has become more and more controlled by a central management entity AND the deep pockets of a small group with an agenda based on profit, that pays well if the employee understands the nuances of court intrigue and corporate manipulation.
I wonder what sort of people that will attract.