In the House, These National Security Democrats Face Political Peril

And though other national security-minded Democrats, like Representatives Andy Kim and Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey, have been drawn into safer districts, a wave election for Republicans could threaten some of those seats, too.

A Republican takeover of the House, moreover, would put the party in charge of important oversight committees, such as the intelligence panel, a platform Democrats used under Representative Adam Schiff of California to carry out investigations of the Trump administration. Those inquiries made news, damaged the president politically and ultimately helped lead to his first impeachment.

If Republicans gain control of the House, even Democrats who survive the election will find themselves relatively powerless to help steer the country’s foreign policy, forced to play defense as their opponents control the agenda on the House floor and within each committee.

Representative Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, has already vowed to begin investigations of the Biden administration in retaliation for what Democrats did during the Trump years.

That’s no idle threat.

Under President Barack Obama, Republicans seized on the administration’s handling of the 2012 attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, to damage the future political prospects of two senior Democratic leaders: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who went on to run for president in 2016, and Susan Rice, who served as United Nations ambassador and national security adviser. Rice’s appearances on Sunday talk shows to discuss the Benghazi attack hobbled her chances of succeeding Clinton and may have helped scuttle her opportunity to become Biden’s running mate in 2020.

Highly politicized oversight of foreign policy has been known to jump-start political careers, too.

One of the ringleaders of the Benghazi oversight push, Representative Mike Pompeo of Kansas, issued a report that went beyond the criticisms of his fellow Republicans toward the Obama administration. His prominence on the issue caught the eye of Trump, who named him C.I.A. director and later secretary of state. Pompeo, a vocal critic of Biden’s foreign policy, is now widely understood to be considering a presidential bid in 2024.

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