Democrat bigshot Cheri Bustos bails office one step ahead of 2022
Democrats control the White House; the House of Representatives; the bureaucracy; and, in a way, the cowed Supreme Court. They've passed insanely bad legislation, getting everything they want. They ought to be in the catbird seat, partying hearty, savoring their wins.
But somehow, they aren't. A top Democrat leader has signaled she doesn't want to be around for the finale.
According to Politico:
Rep. Cheri Bustos, House Democrats' former campaign chief, announced Friday she would retire from Congress after this term, in one of the party's first midterm surprises of the cycle.
Bustos had stepped down from leading the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee after shepherding the caucus through a House election that cost roughly a dozen seats in a year where Bustos and other Democratic leaders predicted large gains.
The Illinois Democrat had remained a member of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's leadership team this year, and few in the caucus directly blamed Bustos for their down-ballot disaster last November. Still, the Illinois Democrat decided not to lead the party arm again, and several people close to Bustos said she had been unhappy in the House in recent years and that her decision was not entirely unexpected.
"As I turn every corner on each decade of life, I take time to reflect and evaluate what my next chapter might bring," Bustos said in a statement. "That's how, 10 years ago, I decided to run for Congress. And it's why, today, I am announcing I will not seek reelection after completing this term."
Normally, politicians with ultra-sensitive political noses bail when they sense a coming political deluge against their party. While the rule isn't airtight (Reuters notes that three GOP members are also leaving, in addition to Bustos and one other Democrat), it tends to be indicative. Rats flee sinking ships, as everyone knows. And Bustos, who is a bigshot among the Democrat leadership, has access to more information about what's coming down the pike than most of them.
Her contentless statement about why she is leaving didn't suggest a lot of pride in Democrat achievements, either.
After all, Democrats have rigged elections, spent like sailors, demonized cops, turned government agencies into KGB-like organs on their opponents, politicized the military, whipped up riots in cities, laid groundwork for packing the courts, pushed to scrap the filibuster to end need for any Republican support on their bills, and opened wide the border.
Party time? Nope. Bustos wants out.
It's actually even worse in Bustos's particular case.
First, the last time we heard from Bustos was post–Election Night in 2020. Democrats had predicted an expanded majority but instead lost ten seats. Far-left Squad members mixed it up with more moderate Democrats such as Bustos, attacking them something fierce.
On Nov. 5, I wrote this about how things were going:
In an electoral aftermath where they expected to be sitting smug and pretty, Democrats instead have devolved into fights and finger-pointing, pinning the blame on one another for the absence of a blue wave, screeching with fury.
That's the report from Politico, which quoted one Democrat lawmaker calling it "a dumpster fire."
So they all hate each other and are looking to find one among them to blame. Some are calling for Nancy Pelosi's head. Others are questioning why Cheri Bustos, a top Democrat policymaker, is still in her job, especially since no one knows whether she won her re-election yet.
Sound like a nice party anyone would want to lead, particularly to defeat?
Yet for Bustos, the problem is even more personal.
According to Politico, Bustos is heading for the door based on the one thing that concentrates a politician's mind more than anything else: defeat from the voters. Political death. Hers. Like Eric Cantor, remember him? Her congressional district outside Chicago voted for President Obama in 2012 but swung to Trump in 2016 and in 2020 and was trending red. Her re-election in 2020 was indicative enough, with a GOP challenger coming within four points of her. That challenger is getting set to challenge her again.
That's a pretty sorry picture for a Democrat who is part of the Democrat leadership and presumably has access to more Democrat resources to fight off such challenges than other Democrats.
Politico notes that her blue state of Illinois is set to lose a congressional seat as well. If Bustos's re-election is not an indicator of what voters are thinking in the vaunted suburbs, the thousands of voters who voted with their feet based on blue-state policies amount to another signal of no confidence in the sustainability of leftwingery. People don't want to live in the world that leftists rigged and built, and they're moving away from it physically.
They are also voting. Bustos may say she wants to just think about big things, or whatever her nothingburger explanation was, but it appears that in her case, the writing is on the wall. That should serve as a motivating factor for Republicans that maybe they can win again, despite the miasma of effort from Democrats to rig themselves into permanent power.
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