House Speaker Contest

This has been discussed in the midterms thread but really is better placed as a thread of its own.

The “Freedom Caucus” is more than capable refusing support unless they get what they want.

OTOH there have got to be a few GOP representatives who won in very purple districts, and for whom signing on to weekly impeachments and constant investigations is a recipe for losing next cycle.

Is it possible that the Freedom Caucus can hold their collect breath until the Speaker turns blue? :slightly_smiling_face: … that the House is close enough that a D candidate (not Pelosi) is able to promise a few Chairs to Rs along with other deal making, and gain the gavel?

No way a (D) gets it if republicans have the majority.

Given the close call in the midterms where there was supposed to be a “red wave” I doubt the Freedom Caucus can claim a lot of power. Trump candidates lost. Trump did not deliver. Their caucus did not deliver (and I think lost seats).

They could try to play the spoiler but that is a very shortsighted strategy. Maybe they are dumb enough to try (honestly would not surprise me). They are not known for being anything other than obstructionist. But, if they keep it up, I do not think they will benefit. While they have a lot of diehard supporters they don’t have near enough to rule the roost.

Notice the call among some to reinstate the ability of the caucus to call a vote of confidence on the Speaker. That tells you how they are reacting to the fact they did not overwhelm. We can’t impose ourselves but we can take you down. And FWIW the Freedom Caucus/America First group (a) know they command a proportionally larger share of the “party base” than their counterparts in the Progressive Caucus and “the Squad”, (b) know that they have already made prior speakers say “screw this, I’m going home” and (c) know that the GOP has no one with Pelosi-level carrot-and-stick prowess and that McCarthy craves that speakership to the point he’ll have to be taken from the Floor in restraints and interned for his own protection if he fails.

At the very least ANYONE who seeks the speakership is going to have to promise the FC/AF group absolute free rein to waste House resources on investigations, subpoenas, pointless impeachments, and everything and anything just this short of a Bill of Attainder against everyone and anyone Not Them, in the run-up to 2024. And the leadership may well consider it worth it for the effect on an extended campaign.

Some of them may also want to be leapfrogged up in committee (as opposed to conference) power, but that is going to be a tougher slog as seniority is near-sacrosanct in that and none who has been working up the hard way since 2011 and been in majority before is going to just step aside for some MAGA poster kid.

More people than just the Freedom Caucus, however, are likely supporters of the so-called Gingrich Rule, that you will not bring forth anything that needs a cross-aisle vote. So yeah, absolute obstruction all the way can be expected to be a solid mandate for whoever comes out.

Is there a sane Republican left? If the margin is narrow enough, could the Dems make a deal with a sane Republican and a couple of his or her cronies to completely spoil McCarthy and the Freedom Caucus’s plans for complete anarchy by electing them speaker? I can dream…

Those who would do that were primaried out or saw the writing on the wall and showed themselves the door over the last 3 elections. What would happen to anyone who did that would make Cheney and Kinzinger feel blessed.

I think there are sane republicans left but they know their jobs rely on never crossing the Freedom Caucus. They’d be primaried in a heart beat and out of a job. (That’s how the MAGA lot got power in the first place…primary anyone into oblivion who dared to compromise.)

There’s Kinzinger in Illinois for one. Voted for impeachment. So did Dan Newhouse in California. Both were re-elected.

Are there others who are sane, maybe Republicans in Blue districts? Probably.

Thing is any deal that they’d accept would lose support of members of the D progressive caucus …

Kinzinger didn’t even run.

The speaker race is going to be a shitshow of epic proportions.

Then they’ll run out of time and go with McCarthy.

After that there will rumbles of a challenge to the Speakership every couple of months with hostage taking and concessions. At least once this will result in articles of impeachment for Biden getting a floor vote.

Maybe before two years is up, enough R congressfolk will die or go to jail that the Dems regain a majority for at least a little while.

Oh fudge. My mistake. I should have known that. So just one.

The odds of internal party disputes being enough to create a unity speaker is next to zero.

Barring an outright Dem majority in the house and senate, the main thing the house is going to do is either investigate all of Trump’s misdeeds, or investigate the democrats’ investigation into Trump’s misdeeds. If there is even a remote chance that the some of the GOP is capable of allying with the democrats to set up a unity speaker, the freedom caucus is going to back down behind closed doors for some minor face-saving concession. The freedom caucus ultimately wants to do the same thing McCarthy wants to do this term - investigate the democrats and possibly impeach Biden. A unity speaker is extremely rare (if it has even ever happened) in US history and there is probably less incentive for it to happen now than there is usually.

What if the difference is razor-thin enough, say 218 R - 217 D and all but 2 Rs vote for Mcarthy except for 2 that vote for Trump himself or some of his surrogates ?
Unlikey, I know, but a man can dream…

What exactly are the Republicans going to do to “investigate the deomcrats’ investigation”? Who are they going to be able to interview that is going to be both be sympathetic to their cause and have relevant information? Are they just going to hold hearings with random people that will say what they want to say?

And what the hell are they going to impeach Biden on? I know, they probably want to, but they do realize that they have to come up with something other than disagreeing with his policies, right?

They don’t, the House can impeach a president for anything they want, there is no need for it to make sense.

Absolutely anything they want to. They can impeach him for bad fashion sense. “High crimes and misdemeanors” is not legally defined. It is whatever they want it to be. There is no appeals court.

It’ll be stupid. It will come to nothing. But they will do it for the political theater because their base loves it.

Surely someone will remind them before they impeach him for wearing a tan suit that they’ll be abandoned by whatever’s left of the independents? At least, I would hope. Maybe things are just too far gone.

They are more afraid of their base than of any independents if they even exist anymore.

They’ll subpoena people for the sole purpose of badgering and humiliating them in front of the cameras and demanding all information about everything.

“So, Dr. Fauci, YES or NO, CAN you PROVE that not one cent you ever made in your life came to you from someone who ever did anything illegal? And no we are not excusing you to use the men’s roo until we have an answer to our satisfaction.”

AND they will help establish that impeaching is just one more chep political maneouver that can be just tossed around to make trouble.

My understanding is that if this happens they keep having revotes until someone gets a majority. Which would get back to the point where IMO as soon as the other Republicans have the ability to cut out the freedom caucus and get a unity speaker, they’ll use that threat to bring everyone back, give the freedom caucus something that can use to claim victory and unite behind McCarthy.

As far as investigating, it’s essentially going to be the Benghazi playbook where they just drag out whatever they can cook up for the entire term. And it’s probably going to be about how either Garland’s investigation or previous stuff with like Mueller or whatever was a witch hunt.

A candidate for Speaker needs to win a majority of all Members “present and voting” in order to be elected. So if a few Republicans break off and vote for someone else (and assuming no Democrats vote for McCarthy), that just means no one has a majority and it goes to another ballot. The House can vote as many times as they need to until a Speaker is elected – the record is 133 ballots in the 34th Congress.

But, “present and voting” means that any Members who are absent or abstain from the vote aren’t counted and effectively lower the number of votes required to be elected. If it’s gone to several ballots, there’s a decent possibility that McCarthy can get some number of Freedom Caucus members to sit the next ballot out so that he can be elected and they can act like they’re still standing by their principles because they didn’t vote for him.

It sounds a bit like a game of chicken. You are sure the caucus will swerve. I think that they don’t just hold hostages, they are more than happy to start shooting them too.