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The new House Republican “majority” is officially in disarray

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It would have been difficult enough for a witless weakling like Kevin McCarthy to successfully wrangle a House Republican majority made up of this many loons even if he had a forty seat majority to give him breathing room on each vote. Instead, because so many of you put in so much work on the most competitive House races and won most of them, McCarthy is stuck trying to work with the slimmest of majorities.

Aome folks on social media got excited today when they learned the “breaking news” that McCarthy doesn’t have the votes to become Speaker. But this isn’t news at all. Based solely on the “no” votes from his own caucus that have already been publicly announced, at no point has McCarthy had enough votes. At no point has he been on track to become Speaker. And while he may yet find a way to come up with the votes, if the vote were held tomorrow and every House Republican voted the way they’ve publicly claimed they’re going to vote, McCarthy would fail to become Speaker.

In other words, this new House Republican “majority” is officially in disarray already. Back when the Democrats won a narrow House majority back in 2018, there was a lot of buzz from the most conservative House Democrats about trying to elect a Speaker other than Nancy Pelosi. But even with as much hyperbolic hype as the media gave that storyline, it was never really going to happen. If you knew Pelosi, you knew that she’d find a way to bring everyone in line and get the votes. And even if the holdouts had somehow managed to line up enough support behind an alternative candidate, the upshot is that House Democrats still would have elected a Democrat as Speaker of the House.

The same can’t be said in 2022. The holdout House Republicans aren’t just expressing concerns about McCarthy. They aren’t just saying some other candidate would be better than McCarthy. They’re saying they’re a “no” on him, and they’re doing it publicly. While they’re always free to change their minds at any time, it’s not as easy to publicly walk back a “no” as it is to walk back “I have concerns.” These holdouts seem confident that they’ll be able to derail McCarthy, and that they won’t have to reluctantly fall in line behind him at some point.

This is notable because of what will happen if House Republicans do fail to elect Kevin McCarthy as Speaker. He’s the closest thing to a consensus pick they have; no one likes or respects him, but if only because he’s already the elected leader of the caucus, he’s the one with the best shot at rallying his caucus behind him. If McCarthy can’t get to 218 votes, it’ll be difficult to imagine any other House Republican getting 218 votes.

At that point we’d be looking at a number of variables. House Democrats would be able to nominate their own pick for Speaker, and could theoretically pick anyone – even someone who’s not a House member. This plan would require Democrats to convince four House Republicans to vote with them to elect their nominee for Speaker. It’s difficult to imagine four House Republicans voting for a Democrat like Pelosi or Hakeem Jeffries as Speaker, due to the optics. But, as we’ve already seen leaked to the media by someone who wants it to happen, the Democrats could try to get four House Republicans to support the idea of a traditional Republican like Liz Cheney becoming Speaker. Yes, she could become Speaker of the House without even being a member of the House.



If things got this far, House Republicans would be in an absolute panic, because it would put their entire unhinged agenda at risk. It would certainly give House Republicans more motivation to reluctantly fall in line behind Kevin McCarthy, on the premise that they’d be better off with a weak Speaker than an opposition Speaker. Then again, with the Republican House majority set to be a dumpster fire of ill-received Hunter Biden hearings and such, it’s possible a few House Republicans in moderate districts would rather have a Speaker like Cheney who will refuse to let that dumpster fire happen.


But that’s all several steps ahead of where we are, and there are just too many variables to try to predict how this will turn out. What you need to know for now is that as of today Kevin McCarthy does not have the votes to become Speaker of the House, and neither does any other House Republican. That could change tomorrow. Backroom deals are surely being attempted as we speak. But as of now, none of this is trending in McCarthy’s favor. Keep in mind that persuadable voters in the middle hate chaos and embarrassment, and the stupider this all gets for House Republicans, the worse it is for their chances of keeping the House in 2024.

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