Because of their massive Congressional majority, Republicans are likely to lose seats in the House of Representatives.
This is because the size of their majority means they are defending seats held in marginal districts that usually vote Democrat in Presidential election years. However, The GOP is favored to retain control of the House.
But will a narrower House margin empower conservatives and break the establishment’s grip on power?
The reportedly 40 member House Freedom Caucus has repeatedly stymied the Republican establishment’s attempts to grow government and work with Democrats to erode liberty.
After the terrorist attack at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Speaker Paul Ryan led an effort to pass gun control legislation that would have stripped Americans of their Second Amendment rights without due process of law.
The House Freedom Caucus united in opposition and Speaker Ryan and the Republican establishment were stopped in their attempt to chip away at the Second Amendment.
Because Republicans hold 246 seats in the House, the Freedom Caucus has the ability to deny the GOP the 218 votes necessary for a majority if they withhold their votes as a group.
Politico reports that concerns are rising among establishment Republicans that conservative groups like the Club for Growth – which backs fiscally conservative challengers to Republican incumbents – could team up with the Freedom Caucus to make sure the group has enough seats to stop Paul Ryan from selling out to the Democrats:
“Lawmakers and political operatives aligned with House GOP leadership are growing increasingly concerned that the powerful conservative outside group Club for Growth is taking marching orders from their arch-nemesis: The House Freedom Caucus.
The Club’s super PAC has spent more than $3.7 million to boost a half-dozen Republican primary candidates who’ve pledged publicly or privately to join the Freedom Caucus, plus several of their current members in tough races. Some of the candidates’ policy positions are at odds with the Club’s positions, raising eyebrows among its detractors. The group’s latest endorsee, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), surprised many: The group spent more than $600,000 against him four years ago after Gosar earned a middling 63 percent on its internal scorecard, in part because of his votes on spending bills.”
No matter who wins the Presidential election, Republicans will most likely lose seats in the House.
If the Freedom Caucus succeeds in growing its membership – or even just maintaining its current strength – a diminished Republican majority would actually increase the strength of House conservatives.
They could hold out for more conservative legislation or block Paul Ryan from working with the Democrats on bills that increase spending as well as the size and scope of government.
They also could stop Ryan’s efforts to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that would further gut the American middle class.
Critics contend the Republican establishment – led by Speaker Paul Ryan – has long paid lip service to conservative goals while working to pass Democratic priorities.
It was Paul Ryan who negotiated the 2013 Ryan-Murray budget deal which lifted the spending caps won by Republicans during the 2011 debt ceiling showdown.
And now if establishment Republicans hold fewer seats in Congress they will see their power diminished.
That’s why groups like the Chamber of Commerce have targeted Freedom Caucus members for defeat in primaries.
Will their strategy work?
Or will the more moderate Republicans like Paul Ryan see a Congress in 2017 that pits an emboldened conservative wing against a weakened establishment?