On Saturday, writing for The Week, Matthew Walther argued that Congressional Republicans' recent behavior shows they have made peace with losing the election — that, indeed, they are looking forward to it, and have mapped out what they will do next as the party out of power.
"Faced with the possibility of losing both the White House and possibly even the Senate in a year in which Democrats are also expected to consolidate control of the House as well, Republicans have resigned themselves to a half decade or so of opposition," wrote Walther. "Many of them are relieved at the thought of not even having to pretend to govern as members of a minority party — better yet, in the case of those who expect to lose their seats, at the not very remote possibility of a well-remunerated position with a lobbying or consulting firm."
This, he argued, is the simplest explanation for why Senate Republicans have made barely any effort to negotiate on a new COVID stimulus package — something that could improve their standing, and President Donald Trump's, with voters — and are instead focused on solidifying their control of the Supreme Court by filling the vacancy just before the election.
"If Biden wins, the way forward is clear," wrote Walther. The senators and representatives who lose their seats will cash in with lobbying and consulting gigs, and for those who remain, "The template was established during the Obama administration: moan about 'socialism' in the hope that you can get the House back in two years (a remote but not totally unimaginable contingency), and, if all else fails, hope that the Supreme Court will bail you out."
The only real loser in all this, argued Walther — the only person in the Republican Party who will truly fall from grace with defeat and be left with nothing — is Trump himself.
"In 2016 he was not in a position to waste time engaging in recriminations with members of his own party. In hindsight this was probably a mistake," wrote Walther. "The GOP used him to accomplish the one thing that represents the summit of the party's ambition, and did so in the closing days of the first year of his presidency. If he manages to prevail a second time, against odds that are even less likely, he should hold the Republican leadership to account for their fecklessness."
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