This could be a transformative year for the Republicans. Their tax deal passed, many Congressional Repugs are hitting the silk, bailing out, just as Joy Reid foretold before Christmas. As Reid said at the time, they've done their dirty work for the oligarchs and they're "cashing out."
NBC News' Howard Fineman says there's a Republican exodus underway that will usher in a new, more radical GOP.
In a city obsessed with "Fire and Fury" and Oprah Winfrey, Rep. Ed Royce, the 66-year-old Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, made no waves on Monday when he announced that he would not seek another term in his Southern California district after 25 years in office.
But in the real political world — the one that writes the nation's laws and has to work with the administration of President Donald Trump — Royce's decision was a potent sign of three crucial facts:
Republicans are increasingly worried that they could lose the House in the 2018 midterm elections and many think they are getting out while the getting is still good;
They have reason to worry, especially about the House, and especially since a series of prominent retirements can further hurt the party's chances in the fall and;
No matter what happens in November, a more militant rump parliament of younger Freedom Caucus radicals will have much more clout in what's left of the GOP ranks in the House.
"The House GOP leadership that is now in place is hardly a bunch of moderates," [Norm] Ornstein said. "But they tend to want to work within the rules and the institutions that exist. That is not going to be a true for those who succeed them after this year."