Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns write for the New York Times that Republican leaders in congress are out of touch with and mystified by their own grassroots, and they are worried that turnover in their ranks will alter the character of congress forever:
WASHINGTON — Republican leaders in Congress are under attack from all sides of their own party, battered by voters from the right and left, spurned by frustrated donors and even threatened by the Trump White House for ineffective leadership and insufficient loyalty.
Since last week, Senate Republicans lost one of their own when Roy S. Moore, the firebrand former state judge, trounced Senator Luther Strange in a Senate runoff in Alabama. The retirement of Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee kicked off a potentially fratricidal fight for his seat, with the establishment’s preferred successor, Gov. Bill Haslam, declining to run on Thursday.
An audiotape surfaced of Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers, lambasting Republican leaders and urging conservative donors to close their wallets to lawmakers who are disloyal to President Trump.
. . .
Senator Richard C. Shelby, Republican of Alabama, who was first elected to Congress in 1978, said he had never seen rank-and-file Republicans so stirred up against the party’s leaders in Congress.
“Right now, the Moore-Bannon faction prevails,” Mr. Shelby said.
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