- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 24, 2017

Retiring Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania said Sunday his GOP colleagues should be “prepared for the worst” and “hope for the best” ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, saying there is good policy in the Republican tax bill yet legislative victories don’t always translate into electoral success.

Mr. Dent, a Republican moderate known to reach for bipartisan solutions, said Democrats passed big bills on health care and financial reform in the early Obama years, only to get wiped out in 2010.

He said it’s unclear if the GOP will suffer the same fate, or if its tax cuts will buoy support.

Either way, he thinks the party is running into headwinds.

“Clearly, you know, the Republican Party, my party is going [to] experience losses. It remains to be seen whether or not we’ll lose the majority in the House or the Senate,” he told ABC’s “This Week.” “But I guess you have to be concerned.”

Mr. Trump’s approval rating is low, and a primary system that rewards extreme candidates is taking a toll, the congressman said, citing the Alabama Senate seat that Republicans squandered.

“A lot of these people, they’re not about expanding the base,” he said, saying politics and elections are about “addition, not subtraction. Inclusion, not exclusion.”

Mr. Dent said there were plenty of reasons behind his own retirement — after a long career in politics, he felt it is time to move on.

Even so, Mr. Trump was “a factor.”

“I’ve often said that this administration at times is taking the fun out of dysfunction,” he told ABC’s This Week. “I expect a certain amount of dysfunction in government. And sometimes you can laugh at it, but it’s not so funny anymore. But to be fair, you know, some of my own frustrations predated President Trump, particularly when it started with the 2013 government shutdown.”

“There are too many people here,” he added, “who’ve taken saying ‘no’ to an art form, a lot of people here just can’t get to ‘yes.’”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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