While retiring Democratic Reps. John Yarmuth (Ky.), David Price (N.C.), and Mike Doyle (Pa.) have said personal issues were “paramount” in their decisions to step down, they also cited three “political factors” as having played into things, as well: redistricting ahead of the 2022 midterms, former President Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP, and increasing division within the Democratic party, writes Jonathan Weisman for The New York Times.
As for redistricting, Price told Weisman he fears polarization will grow as district maps become more partisan. Doyle said he expects his district to expand into more Trump-friendly Pennsylvania counties, meaning although he could still win, he’d have to face a whole new set of voters and challenges. “After 26 years in the House, retirement was logical,” writes Weisman.
On top of that, Price feels the Jan. 6 Capitol riot has both “scarred the House” and “raised serious questions” about the future of elections, the rule of law, and “the very future of democracy,” per Weisman. Yarmuth echoed such sentiments, noting that, with far-right GOPers already calling to impeach President Biden, “the prospect of serving in the minority is horrifying.”
And notably, the representatives mentioned the issues among Democrats as a threat and a challenge to functional governance. “I have a concern that we will have the ability to pull ourselves together, and not fracture among the caucuses the way the Republicans have,” said Price. And Yarmuth feels those in his own party “who have been drawing all the lines” in the House don’t know how to compromise like the older members. “They all have come since 2010,” he told Weisman.
But perhaps Doyle explained it best: “We’re not having trouble getting reconciliation done because of Republicans; it’s because of ourselves.”