Amid the struggles and maneuverings of a failed second day of attempts to elect a Republican speaker to the US House of Representatives, Kat Kamack stood up to her fellow conservatives and launched a petition.
Today I ask my friends and colleagues: Are we Reagan Republicans? she asked. It was a call for unity, a call for the Conservatives to unite to choose a president now that they had a slim majority in the council.
But it was the Republicans allied with another conservative president – Donald Trump – who took power, effectively paralyzing the House of Representatives by preventing the selection of a president for a second day.
McCarthy fails to run for president again and the Republican Party is in tatters
It seems that the impasse in the US Congress will continue indefinitely
The impasse in the House of Representatives — a moment so unnerving that a US Navy chaplain prayed on Wednesday for liberation from “obstinacy and arrogance” — is a new facet of the politics of the American populist right and a first look at the turmoil. It is now due to be submitted to Congress as Republicans take a new position in power.
On Wednesday evening, after six failed votes to choose a president, the House of Representatives adjourned once again into limbo. Most Republicans want Kevin McCarthy, a California representative who was previously the House Minority Leader.
But McCarthy’s candidacy was opposed by a group of 20 Republicans, most of whom were elected as anti-Make America Great Again candidates, who are now determined to bring that form of populism to Congress by upsetting the way it operates.
Mr. Trump himself has not been able to persuade them to back down. In a social media post on Wednesday, the former president urged “every House Republican to vote for Kevin.” Hours later, Lauren Boebert, a far-right Republican conspiracy theorist from Colorado who was among the former president’s staunchest supporters, declined that House call. Instead, she said, Mr Trump should “tell Kevin McCarthy, sir, you don’t have the votes and it’s time to go.” ”
As his power wanes, said Morris Fiorina, a political science professor at Stanford University, Mr. Trump has unleashed “kinetic forces he can no longer control.” “He can’t put the genie back in the lamp.”
The nine-seat majority in the House of Representatives that Republicans won in the midterm elections is smaller than the Freedom Caucus representatives who are determined to reshape American politics in part by reshaping the political system. They are calling for rule changes that would give more influence to individual representatives, eroding the power of party elders. They want a pledge to balance budgets – call for a government shutdown of new borrowing – vote on term limits and consider a border plan advocated by Texas Republicans that would include deporting more people and completing construction of Mr. Trump’s border wall.
“This country needs leadership that does not reflect this city, this city, that has been hit hard,” said Texas Republican Chip Roy. He vowed to stay with McCarthy until he received promises to stop debt spending, fix border issues, and stop funding “bureaucrats who encroach on the liberties of the American people.”
Florida Republican Matt Gaetz dismissed McCarthy as too obliging to make such changes. Nor are the far-right Conservatives unhappy with Mr McCarthy’s support for more traditional candidates in primary races.
“If you want to drain the swamp, you can’t leave the exercise to the biggest crocodile,” Gates said.
It has been a century since the US Congress held several ballots to confirm the Speaker of the House. Meanwhile, in 1855-1856, 133 ballots were cast, two months in, in a historical era that the U.S. House of Representatives, in its records, describes as a “toxic and deteriorating political climate” amid the “struggle against slavery.” and a growing anti-immigrant mood in the nation.” »
This year, the 20 Mavericks Republicans have named several replacements for Mr. McCarthy, including Florida Rep. Byron Donalds. Mr. Donalds and Hakeem Jeffries, the Democratic nominee for Speaker of the House, are both black. Never before has the House nominated two black presidential candidates.
Those who support Mr. Donalds want to reverse the centralization of power that Newt Gingrich has mastered as the House Republican’s chairwoman, and Democrats have been widely supported by Nancy Pelosi.
“For too long, conservatives have let the establishment ignore and marginalize us,” Boppert wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. Real leadership realizes that consolidating power in one person is unacceptable. »
But they also benefit from a political environment that has provided very narrow margins between Republicans and Democrats, a phenomenon Professor Fiorina called unstable majority In the title of his 2017 book.
“Before,” he said, “if these people had tried to mount this kind of rebellion, they would have been crushed like a bug.” Now the truth is that the majority are very small, these people have the power—the leaders do not have the power to crush them. »
This indicates that the fierce fighting that the Speaker of Parliament waged this week is a harbinger of what is to come. Republicans have already abandoned many traditional elements of electoral politics, including creating a party platform in 2020. In 2022, some of the fiercest battles are taking place within the party, between establishment Republicans and supporters of Mr. Trump’s political style.
Now, these battles are poised to affect the way the US Congress operates over the next two years.
“Republicans are in a very difficult position because their margin is so small and this bloc is so specific,” said Eddie Goldenberg, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Michigan. They want to be able to screw things up if things don’t go their way. »
The battle over the boss marked the first opportunity to exert such influence.
“It’s an attempt to apply as much force as possible,” Professor Goldenberg said.