Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's inner circle has been dealt another blow with the surprise announcement that Sen. Roy Blunt will not seek reelection next year, as the GOP shifts more toward former President Donald Trump's style of conservative populism, The Hill reported on Monday.
The Missouri Republican’s declaration of his departure from the Senate next year follows the recent announcement that other McConnell allies — Sens. Rob Portman, Pat Toomey, and Richard Burr — will also not run for another term in 2022 and comes as the Republican Party is undergoing a turbulent transition as it decides what direction to take now that Trump is no longer in the White House.
Steven Smith, a political science professor at Washington University in St. Louis, said it “must be a source of frustration” for Blunt that many of his Republican colleagues are “professional ideologues who appeal to an outside constituency or national audience as a priority over getting things done in Congress.”
Blunt, Smith said, was “always billed as an institutionalist” who had “a greater commitment to good government, public service, and the institution than we see among many of his colleagues.”
A former aide close to Blunt added that the Missouri senator and his retiring colleagues “understood what it took to govern,” but that now “we are in a time when in politics, both on the Democratic side and the Republican side, hyperbole is more what people are paying attention to than statesmanship.”
The struggle inside the GOP is seen as being between those Republican lawmakers seeking a return to the “big tent” politics of President Ronald Reagan, when the party backed free trade and robust immigration, and others basing their rhetoric more on Trump’s populist style.
Brian Freeman ✉
Brian Freeman, a Newsmax writer based in Israel, has more than three decades writing and editing about culture and politics for newspapers, online and television.
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