This past week the House of Representatives slugged through 15 rounds of votes to elect their new speaker, California Republican Kevin McCarthy. This procession of votes is the longest since 1859 — pre-Civil War. What does that say about the lengths far-right Republicans are willing to go to rather than simply compromise? 20 House Republicans, many of them election deniers and openly Trump supporters, voted against McCarthy and deadlocked the vote repeatedly. After selling his soul and giving absurd concessions to his opposition, McCarthy gained the speaker position, less powerful than ever.
To some, this ordeal might seem like a highly contested fight throughout the entire House, but that is far from the case. While House Republicans were screaming absurdities at each other and bickering over small, petty policy issues, Democrats were seen winding back in the chairs, eating popcorn, and enjoying the spectacle unfolding in front of them. They still voted of course, committing 212 votes to their candidate Hakeem Jeffries of New York every round. Many Democrats openly mocked the Republican side of the House for allowing this absurd proceeding to continue. Among those who voted against McCarthy, was Matt Gaetz, representative from Florida. Gaetz even went to the extent of voting for former President Donald Trump, twice. This decision was met with incredulity from his fellow party members, many of whom are trying to distance their party from the former president.
Despite winning the position, many fear that McCarthy gave too much power to those who opposed him and that he has compromised the power of the speaker. The most concerning of these concessions is the power that any member of the House now holds to call for a re-election of the speaker, most likely leading to another deadlock and stall of government.
Yet another thing that has left Republican voters in a state of deep regret for their choices is the stark divide the party is presenting in the House over almost any issue that confronts them. If electing a speaker took a historical effort for the divided Republicans, what will it take for things that many consider just as easy? Budgeting bills? Simple policy? By the virtue of pure numbers, Republicans do indeed hold a majority in the House — but that number only means something if they actually present a united front. Many fear that these differences may lead to something similar to the horror of 2018 when the government was forced to shut down due to a lack of a budget.
Shockingly enough, Republicans have been able to agree on one thing, the formation of a new committee that seeks to search for bias against conservatives at every level – from the federal government itself to extremely small things such as school boards. While many claim that this committee has been engineered to simply “protect the first amendment” as representative Jim Jordan of Ohio put it, many fear that it is an alternative method to attack the Biden Administration. While the vote to form the committee passed the House of Representatives with a vote of 221-211 (with all Democrats present voting against the formation), many fear that a large number of Republicans simply agreed for the sake of ease, not necessarily because they agree with the ideas set forth by Jim Jordan, who was named the chair of the committee.