That includes the surprise retirement announcement by Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman on Monday.
Portman’s retirement is rightly understood as simply the latest piece of evidence that being a so-called establishment Republican — or, really — anything but a die-hard Trump Republican — is no fun at all.
“Fact: when President Trump took office in January 2017, there were 241 Republicans in the House. Since then, 115 (48%) have either retired, resigned, been defeated or are retiring in 2020.”
It’s not hard to connect the dots. And just in case you can’t, well, Portman did.
Put yourself in Portman’s shoes. He just spent four years under a Republican president with whom he disagreed on, well, a whole lot. And now, if he ran again, he would face the very real possibility of a Trump-backed primary challenge — maybe from Rep. Jim Jordan — that even if he won would have damaged him politically.
And for what? A party that is barely recognizable from the one Portman has served in for much of the past three decades.
The Point: Trump isn’t president anymore. But the way he wrenched the party into a cult of personality — and away from core GOP principles — continues to have major reverberations.