House Speaker Paul Ryan deserves much blame for the GOP’s loss of the House in the 2018 election, says a report by the New York Times.
Ryan’s divisive management of the caucus, his primary focus on tax cuts instead of infrastructure spending, his refusal to depart even after his promise to resign, and his weak fund-raising, all helped to divide, disorganize, and discourage the GOP caucus, says the New York Times post-mortem report:
The message from Representative Kevin McCarthy, the House majority leader, was urgent and unsparing. In a meeting with Republican lawmakers before they left Washington for the August congressional recess, Mr. McCarthy warned that time was running short: Unless they intensified their campaign efforts and forcefully delivered a coherent message, he said, Republicans would suffer grievous losses in November.
By Labor Day, Republicans were fatally unprepared for an onslaught of Democratic campaign spending that overwhelmed their candidates from South Florida to Seattle. Party leaders on Capitol Hill and in the White House soon turned on one another and against their candidates with growing intensity. Two key groups — the National Republican Congressional Committee, the party’s campaign arm in the House, and the Congressional Leadership Fund, a powerful Republican super PAC — plunged into all but open warfare over messaging and money.
Democrats, in turn, delivered a message about health care with the repetitive force of a jackhammer. They cracked congressional maps drawn to favor Republicans and seized an array of open seats, while also felling longtime incumbents who had grown complacent.
The Times also slams Trump’s focus on his “Hire American” immigration policy, but it did not follow the money that would explain the huge political gaps between the nation’s swing-voters and the establishment’s cadre of wealthy, investment-maximizing donors.
The article does credit Democrats for using economic issues to win the middle-income swing-voters who decided the election. Party officials ignored many hot-button issues and narrowed their pitch to jobs and health care, said the Times:
That judgment was backed up by a vast trove of research, collected by Democratic committees and super PACs through polling and focus groups. House Majority PAC, the caucus’s main super PAC, carried out two intensive research projects, studying right-of-center suburban voters and blue-collar whites who supported Mr. Trump. It concluded that only a message about health care and jobs could win over both groups.
Democrats passed President Barack Obama’s Obamacare plan in 2010. Democrats and Republicans — including a young Paul Ryan — have jointly used immigration to divert jobs and wages away from American voters since at least 1990. Ryan has served in Congress since 1999, giving him 18 years to devise and pass popular, pro-American reforms before the 2018 election year.
Once he retires, Ryan is widely expected to take a well-paid job in the financial industry.
Read the New York Times article here.