Republican leaders like Kevin McCarthy are learning the hard way that they can’t stop their party from moving further and more to the right. The Californian, who has lost 11 roll call votes in a row in his attempt to become speaker, was the first major Republican leader to publicly endorse former president Donald Trump during the revolt of January 6, 2021.
His gamble on Trump’s descendants in the chaos wing of the GOP was supposed to boost his career, but on the two-year anniversary of the biggest attack on American democracy in modern times, he is learning that it is not enough to unlock the votes of Trump’s successors.
The “Make America Great Again” radicals have helped to stage a revolution, and McCarthy is becoming the latest political leader to become obsessed by it. The radical politicians who are now standing in his way of reaching his goal job see him as a member of the same political system he once railed against.
The Republicans were elected in a free and fair election and now dominate the House of Representatives. The type of pro-Trump fanatics that many people seemed to reject in last year’s midterms are now gaining more power thanks to their much smaller majority than projected.
But not even Trump, who authored the election-denying hoax that sparked the uprising and who once had the power to swing the GOP in the House with a single phone call, was able to rally MAGA fundamentalists in the House to support McCarthy.
After a lacklustre start to a 2024 White House bid and a terrible midterm election campaign for politicians he backed, the ex-inability president’s to do so is suggestive of waning power. Potentially demonstrating that Trump is no longer necessary for even the most extreme forms of Trumpism.
House Republicans as a whole refused to officially recognize President Joe Biden‘s 2020 election victory two years ago, and many of them have spent years condoning Trump’s lawlessness. Nevertheless, after bringing democracy to its knees, the GOP now controls half of Capitol Hill, or will whenever it finally gets its act together and chooses a speaker.
“McCarthy is not in political trouble for the reasons he deserves to be in political trouble. Justice is seldom served so exactly. But he does deserve to be in trouble, so justice must be satisfied with the trouble that he’s in.” – @davidfrum https://t.co/HQItMPI5Hp
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) January 6, 2023
Also bizarre this week on Capitol Hill: Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has played down the uprising and claimed that the rioters would have “won” if she had been in charge, is now criticising the fanaticism of some of her fellow Republicans who oppose McCarthy.
Saying, “You can’t be serious about that. It’s not leadership, she told CNN’s Manu Raju on Thursday, and she sees it as more of a roadblock than anything else.
Motivations for Anarchy
The right-wing media machine and a still-angry base of supporters provide significant electoral incentives for disruptor politicians in the ex-image, president even in the aftermath of the attack on the US Capitol.
Two of them are particularly vocal in their opposition to McCarthy; they are Representatives Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Matt Gaetz of Florida. After the far right threw out two previous GOP speakers, the current speakership impasse is more than simply fresh evidence of the turbulence now roiling the GOP.
I have proudly cast 8 votes for @RepJeffries for Speaker. @HouseDemocrats remain united & ready to get to work for the American people. House Republicans remain unable to organize themselves so Congress can even function in a basic, fundamental way. https://t.co/HyhA8B4wSu
— Rep. Hank Johnson (@RepHankJohnson) January 5, 2023
It indicates the new Republican majority in the House will be chronically ineffective, and given that only a few of MPs can bring the house to a standstill at any time, catastrophic political crises are expected to dominate the next two years.
Even if Trump is no longer president, the circus politics he established on a bedrock of Republican defiance has returned and tangled up the nation’s capital once more. Things are so terrible that the GOP hasn’t even been able to take power yet because of the standoff over who will be a speaker. Lawmakers can’t be sworn in until a leader has been chosen.
McCarthy has had a series of embarrassing roll call votes where ultraconservative Republicans prevented him from becoming speaker. This conflict has its origins in the same conservative intellectual vein as Trumpism, which, with the Republican Party in control of the House of Representatives, once again has a voice in Washington.
Only the ex-poisonous president’s legacy could have created the circumstances that motivated and encouraged that tiny band of political opportunists on the right. Even if he loses all of them, McCarthy still has a slim majority in the House of Representatives to make his speakership quest a reality.
The party failed to deliver the “red wave” many Republicans had predicted, and the ex-constant, president’s false claims of voter fraud in 2020 alienated voters. This narrow margin will also put the majority in a precarious position on must-pass legislation like funding the government and raising the debt ceiling later.
In their desire for stability, voters avoided giving the GOP unchecked power and a House majority that would have been manageable for McCarthy, setting the stage for the very instability they claim to despise.
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