Donald Trump has been dealt a blow by the fiasco of Kevin McCarthy

What Will You Do next year? How Kevin McCarthy, the GOP, and Nancy Pelosi have changed in the wake of the Covid-19 lockdowns

He has mused publicly — purely in jest, his aides later insisted — about wanting to hit her with the oversized wooden gavel used to keep order in the House.

Kevin McCarthy is a long way from winning the support of his party to become the next House speaker. By the day before the vote, his authority is already weakened in a way that it is hard to imagine him as a speaker in power.

Pelosi claimed she didn’t know what Mr. McCarthy was referring to when he claimed Democrats were not allowed to speak about what was happening at the border.

The modern Republican Party’s one non-negotiable value is this: the ruthless pursuit of power. Party leaders who understand this prosper, while those who hold principle are destroyed.

In winning the Virginia governor’s mansion last year, Youngkin adopted a subtle campaign strategy. To ensure a good turnout in pro-Trump rural counties, the former businessman spoke of the handling of gender issues in schools and wrote “Make America Great Again” messages. He was careful not to offend the voters in the more liberal Washington DC suburbs who were upset by the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Youngkin said that elections have consequences and urged the GOP to get behind Lake, even though he must make a decision about his future in the party.

There is nothing wrong with a political party focusing on winning power. Politics is the art of the possible. Successful parties and leaders understand that election victories are important. Democratic presidents from Lyndon Johnson to Bill Clinton were known for doing what needed to be done to win, reshaping their own principles if necessary. Johnson, a former Senate majority leader, especially was ruthless in wielding his authority won at the ballot box. Nancy Pelosi has dominated the House without being determined to use her power for as long as 20 years.

There is no turning back for Donald Trump and the Republican Party, that’s according to a political scientist at the University of Maryland.

McCarthy’s stances have led to criticism and enraged Democrats, who say his release of the footage to Carlson could endanger the security of the Capitol. In America’s bitter political climate appealing to activists is the first thing on the list in the Trump era. In the current GOP, earning anger of the media is an essential element of appealing to grassroots voters, and is often a main motivation of top party figures.

McConnell knows the payoff of learning to live with a party leader like Trump, who, in personality and deportment, is his exact opposite. McConnell rode the Trump wave and completed his quest for an unassailable right-wing Supreme Court majority. If Republicans take the Senate, he will be positioned to lock in his life’s work of changing the makeup of the judiciary. He’s also closing in on Mike Mansfield as the longest-serving Senate party leader ever, despite Trump’s ever more vocal attempts to topple him from his leadership post.

McConnell has ignored Trump’s racist social media posts against his wife. He has done more than just keep quiet. The Senate Leadership Fund, which is affiliated with the minority leader, has poured tens of millions of dollars into key races like Ohio and Georgia to bail out candidates that were effectively crowned party nominees by no other than Trump.

McConnell’s affiliated super PAC is even spending in New Hampshire, where the GOP nominee has said he wouldn’t vote for the Kentucky Republican for leader. It could bolster a possible GOP majority.

Several US senators flew into Georgia earlier this month to rescue Hershel Walker, a Senate nominee who was in the middle of a controversy.

Pro-Trump Candidate Walker’s Campaign for the Decree of the Mantle on Abortion and the Challenge of Trying to Win an Election

Despite his campaign promise to support a ban on abortions, the pro-Trump nominee has been accused of paying for a woman to get an abortion despite the fact he paid for the procedure. Walker denied the allegations which were not confirmed by CNN but they highlighted the risks of a candidacy for president if his friendship with Trump had not been made public.

The Senate campaign arm of the GOP, headed by Rick Scott, and Tom Cotton, behaved as though Walker was not a Republican candidate.

He is now stumping for Georgian Gov. Brian Kemp, who resisted efforts by President Trump to oust him earlier this year.

While his endorsement may be valuable to Lake in a close race, his rising star power in Trump world also gave him a strong incentive for his trip. And it explains the hug after his speech in which he embraced the kind of political personality who wouldn’t have been let anywhere near his events last year.

GOP leaders are scrambling – not just to hold onto their leadership jobs, but to figure out just what message midterm voters sent them, and how to adjust to what the country now wants from them.

There are still several uncalled House races that will determine control. The election between Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker is important, but won’t take place until December 6.

Why is President Donald Trump unable to run for office? The case of Nancy Pelosi, a California Republican who hasn’t voted in 2024

Despite urgings from some segments of the party, there doesn’t appear to be any changing Trump’s plan. He has waited too long for the chance to get into the race and he has been itching to do it. (Long enough being, in this example, one week after the midterm election.)

Instead, the Republican Party will come directly into the 2024 race, thanks to Donald Trump, and the former president will be demanding endorsements from officials who are still trying to figure out what happened last week.

The point is that Trump is about something. He is the leader of the Republican Party, and he does not prioritize his own good over that of the party.

What he has said is telling but what he’s not saying is more telling. He has remained completely silent on the scandals involving the incoming GOP Rep. GeorgeSantos of New York, and the fact that several members of the GOP caucus had been involved in the campaign of President Donald Trump. (The committee especially singled out incoming House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan as, in its words, “a significant player in President Trump’s efforts.”)

Mr. Norman, who has described himself as a “hard no” against Mr. McCarthy, declined to discuss his call with Mr. Trump, describing it as a “private conversation.” He said he was still undecided about whom he would support for speaker. Mr. Crane did not respond to requests for comment.

When Nancy Pelosi in 2018 found herself about a dozen votes short of what she would need to secure the speaker’s gavel, she quietly picked off defectors, methodically cutting deals to capture exactly enough support to prevail. Ms. Pelosi, known for her ability to stir the pot, won seven votes by agreeing to limit her tenure, and picked up another eight by promising to implement rules that would encourage more bipartisan legislating.

The California Republican has already made a series of pledges in an effort to appease the right flank of his party. He went to the southern border and called on Alejandro N. Mayorkas to resign as homeland security secretary or face possible impeachment proceedings. He promised Ms. Greene, who was stripped of her committee assignments for making a series of violent and conspiratorial social media posts before she was elected, a plum spot on the Oversight Committee.

McCarthy also pledged an aggressive investigative agenda against the Biden administration that will highlight conservative priorities such as Hunter Biden’s business activities, and the treatment of the January 6, 2021, rioters. The Wall Street Journal reported that McCarthy has also acceded to conservative demands for a panel that will launch far-reaching probes on alleged politicization of the Justice Department and FBI. (The panel, the Journal reported, will be established under the Judiciary Committee as the “Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.”) McCarthy left the possibility of impeaching Alejandro Mayorkas, the Department of Homeland Security Secretary.

Mr. McCarthy had said that he didn’t see grounds for impeachment of any Biden administration officials, according to an opinion essay written by Representative Andy Biggs of Arizona. The homeland security secretary has been the subject of a recent threat.

Republicans won control of the House through democratic means in a free and fair election. But their far smaller-than-expected majority is offering extra leverage to the kind of pro-Trump extremists many voters appeared to reject in last year’s midterms.

McCarthy understands that without his most ideological colleagues, he may never become speaker, which is why he opposed a year-end spending bill.

The California Republican is fighting a rearguard battle against members who want to make it easier to eject a sitting speaker and he’s appeasing ex-President Donald Trump’s extremism and that of acolytes like Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene to save a narrow political power base propping up his dream of running the House.

McCarthy seemed to seek out soundbite clashes with the press as badges of honor, when he became avuncular and smooth-talking GOP rising star.

The Supercongressing Future of the GOP: How Kevin McCarthy can help restore balance of power in Trump’s bipartisan bipartisan legislative and investigative agendas

This is one reason why the current year-end tussle over whether to fund the government for a full year – a bipartisan framework agreement for which was announced Tuesday night – or for just a few months is so critical since it could dump a fiscal crisis on the lap of a weak and easily manipulated new speaker next month.

It’s possible that the first speakership election that extends to more than one ballot since 1923 can happen if conservatives don’t loosen their resistance to Kevin McCarthy. The show of strength from the GOPs conservative leader has ensured enormous leverage in shaping the party’s legislative and investigative agenda even if McCarthy wins. And that could reinforce the image of extremism that hurt Republicans in the midterm election, especially in the key swing states likely to decide the next presidential contest – Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia and Arizona.

In some respects, McCarthy’s early signs of deference to the right only reflect the balance of power inside his caucus. The vast majority of House Republicans, in fact, represent “Trump country” – districts outside of the nation’s major metropolitan areas where the former president ran strongly in 2020. Roughly a third of the House Republicans retain their seats that Trump won two years ago.

McCarthy shrugged off the questions about the inflammatory comments, saying she thought she was being facetious. His attitude was consistent with his attempts to rewrite the history of the worst attack on US democracy in modern times, which he briefly said Trump bore responsibility for.

McCarthy wouldn’t criticize the ex-president for meeting with Nick, who is also a white supremacist, at the dinner, because he didn’t want to offend Ye, the rapper who recently made antisemitic remarks. In a histrionic performance at the White House after meeting Biden and other congressional leaders last month, the House Republican leader falsely claimed that Trump had condemned Fuentes four times, when he hadn’t done so once.

CNN’s Raju and Melanie Zanona reported Tuesday that McCarthy had signaled at the White House meeting that he’d be open to a large bill. McCarthy told his group that he was against it, even though McConnell said it was broadly appealing and he had worked on it.

The split will probably lead to future disagreements between Republicans in the House and McConnell, as well as increasing political difficulty for some Republican senators to vote for a spending deal now.

One thing the California Republican does have going for his dreams of the top job is the fact that there so far is not a strong alternative to his candidacy. GOP Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, the former head of the Freedom Caucus, has launched a long-shot bid.

In his farewell message on Sunday, outgoing Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey made it clear that former President Donald Trump has lost his hold on the party.

I think the process is under way. … It’s not a flip of a switch, it doesn’t happen overnight. He has a following, that’s for sure. But I do think his influence is waning,” he added.

Is Donald Trump Right? The Dynamics of the Senate GOP Leadership Battle Before the Vote Turns Back On Its Roots, Its Legacy, and Its Implications

At a time when Trump and the party need it most, the GOP is holding a soul-searching. Senate GOP leaders are eager to move on from the Trump years and court candidates who have more moderate and mainstream appeal to the suburban voters who left the GOP over their disdain for the former president.

I think that my criticism of Trump is valid, but it doesn’t please those who think he carries the fight to the other side. He said that some of the tribalism was built into public political systems.

“Again, I think, as his influence wanes, the sort of conventional understanding of what words mean kind of gets restored over time. I’m not worried about that.

The dynamics of the GOP leadership struggle that will end Tuesday have almost ensured that the House will spend two years pontificating on Trump-style politics that produced the split result.

Whoever Republicans ultimately select as speaker “will be subject to the whims and the never-ending leveraging of a small group of members who want to wield power,” said former GOP Rep. Charlie Dent, a CNN political commentator. “You’re going to have this group on the far right that is going to continue to push the leadership to go further right on issues.”

It may be that Tuesday’s vote creates a kind of drama that was common in the House during the 19th century, but has almost disappeared since. Before the Civil War, when party allegiances were more fluid, the House failed to elect a speaker on the first ballot 13 times, according to the House historian’s office. The most arduous struggles occurred in roughly the decade before the Civil War, as the existing party system crumbled under the pressure of the escalating conflict between the North and South, and the newly formed Republican Party supplanted the Whigs as the major competitor to the Democrats, then the dominant party. One speakership election during that tumultuous decade required 133 ballots (and two months of balloting) to resolve; the final speaker selection before the Civil War began took 44 ballots.

“I think he prevails because there is no other candidate with his experience and fundraising ability and at the end of the day the party base will close ranks because nothing happens until you have a Speaker: No investigations… nothing,” former GOP Rep. Tom Davis, who served as chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, wrote me in an email. The majority of the Conference is loyal to him.

“In some ways, win or lose [for McCarthy] it doesn’t matter,” says Leslie Dach, a senior adviser to the Congressional Integrity Project, a Democratic-aligned group established to respond to the coming House investigations of the Biden administration. The die has been cast by giving these people the power and the podium.

Dach and other Democrats believe the House majority will reinforce the GOP’s image as a party of hardline conservatives by ensuring that hardline Trump allies like Jordan and Greene will be highly visible and authorized to pursue conservative grievances.

“The real show is going to be these empowered, extreme MAGA types,” Dach insists. Every day that they are on the committee, it is a bad day for the entire Republican Party.

In bending to the combative and culture war politics preferred by those Members,McCarthy is making sure the problems for 18 House Republicans who won districts that voted for Biden in 2020. In New York and California, more than half of the people are Democrats, meaning that turnout in the presidential year of 2024 will favor them more than in any other year.

A new analysis by Podhorzer found that the election demonstrated resistance to Trump-style politics in a variety of competitive states. Podhorzer calculated that in the key House, Senate and gubernatorial races across the 15 states with the most competitive statewide contests involving candidates clearly identified with a Trump-style agenda, Democrats largely matched or even exceeded their 2020 margins – a remarkable showing during the first midterm election for the party holding the White House. The party had a tendency to lose in the states where the midterm reversals took place.

“When he made his inauguration speech [in 2017], there was only one Democratic governor in those five states, only four Democratic Senators, no speaker of the state assembly or majority leader in the senate in those states,” says Podhorzer, now chairman of the board of the Analyst Institute, a consortium of liberal groups. “In a month, four of the five states will have Democratic governors, 9 of the 10 Senators are Democrats, and three of the state legislative chambers are led by Democrats.” Democrats in those states have done nothing but win since the election of President Donald Trump, he says.

“It was two midterms happening at the same time – depending on whether you were in a place where that new bubble of Democratic voters believed they had to come out to beat MAGA again,” Podhorzer argued.

CNN Observer of Rep. Dent: “I Wanna Lose His House, but How He Can’t… Give It To Jordan”

That’s unlikely to create many problems for Republicans in the places where they are already strong. The Republicans consolidated their control of the country in the past two years, easily holding state legislature in many states that pursued the most conservative agenda over the past two years.

Nobody knows how this will end. CNN broadcasts live from the day. After a third round of voting for a speaker, lawmakers were forced to adjourn until Wednesday.

The process that normally takes place over the course of a few weeks has been dragged out due to the fact that McCarthy had to lose four colleagues and 19 remained against him.

The third vote showed some small cracks in McCarthy’s support when he got the backing of another congressman.

Donalds joined the original 19 by backing Jordan.

McCarthy’s supporters coalesced in a second round of voting behind Jordan, who used to coordinate rebellions and is now a McCarthy ally with an eye on the chairmanship of the House Judiciary Committee.

“The irony of what we’re witnessing here today is the fact that Jim Jordan was always the ringleader of these types of rebellions and he’s trained these guys well,” said the CNN analyst, moderate Republican and former Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania.

He is trying to get the guys to back off. The most strange thing that I have seen on the House floor in all my years there is this, because he was the quintessential rebel and he can’t control them.

Is There Something Partisan about a Bridge? The New McConnell, Beshear, and Biden Photo Opportunities for the Kentucky Bridge Project

Republicans will ultimately figure this out and unite behind someone – McCarthy or someone else. A floor fight in 1923 took nine votes. The votes could take months before the Civil War started.

Gaetz, in nominating Jordan before the second round of voting, stood right in front of McCarthy and accused him of having “sold himself” in the quest for the speaker post.

If you view it that way, it is a side show that will make it difficult for the speaker to get a raise in the debt ceiling.

The CNN anchor stated that the Republicans have to figure out what to do at some point. “We are supposed to be the governing party of the House of Representatives and we cannot come to a consensus on who should lead us. So never mind about immigration, what we’re going to do about inflation, what we’re going to do about the border, America’s place in the world.”

They have to find a leader before that happens. House Republicans are wrestling with how to convince their members that they don’t care about the system, and there will be a highly scripted photo opportunity in Kentucky on Wednesday.

McConnell, Beshear, and Biden will make an announcement regarding funding for an upgrade of the bridge which connects Kentucky and West Virginia. The governor of Ohio, Mike DeWine, and a senator from Ohio will be present.

The bipartisan infrastructure bill passed in Congress in March of 2020 contains over aBillion dollars for the bridge project and will help the region’s economy and update the infrastructure.

“I think it is also a great statement that there is nothing partisan about a bridge,” Beshear said. He said the bipartisan quintet would announce that they had done the right thing for the people. It is pretty refreshing.”

He’ll have to find a way to work with whomever Republicans ultimately choose to be their speaker and to find a way around the lawmakers who have no problem grinding the government to a halt.

The never-Kevin chamber: where is the problem? When are the Republicans going to make a real difference for the American people?

The California Republican made major concessions after right-wing radicals blocked his bid for power in six humiliating votes.

There is no need for a new majority to come in to work for the American people. The mess in the new House on Tuesday and Wednesday suggested that every tough vote, and even easy ones, in the new House could be gummed up by the reality of a dysfunctional majority when small groups of members could shut the chamber down.

The proposals surfaced after the new House majority finally agreed on something Wednesday: following another day of feuding and insults, they narrowly voted to adjourn their futile search for a speaker until Thursday.

Cheers that erupted from Republican benches when the vote closed reflected the risible state of the House’s new GOP management, which is unable to perform the only task it currently has – choosing a leader – and is holding up the functioning of the chamber.

“The country or Kevin McCarthy. Which should have more weight?” said recently retired GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who is now a CNN political analyst.

On the other side is a band of right-wing zealots, holding their party, the House and the country hostage – some with no clear objective other than to destroy the idea of governance itself. For them, chaos is the point.

Matt Gaetz, the Florida congressman leading the “Never Kevin” caucus, said in an interview that he was ready to vote all night, every week and month, and never for Kevin.


The Case for a Change in Congress: Chip Roy’s Desperation Speaker Reflected on a Groundhog Day in the House

There was a hint of a solution to the humiliation as the divide in the anti-McCarthy block began to open.

Several lawmakers who want far-reaching changes to the way the House works reported genuine progress in talks with McCarthy. One of their number, Texas Rep. Chip Roy, predicted he could bring over 10 votes if the talks pan out.

It’s not clear whether another day of pointless voting on Thursday will make members consider if he should step aside for a trusted colleague, such as Steve Scalise of Louisiana. Many Republicans are complaining that their hopes for quickly wielding power and throttling the Biden administration have been dashed.

While another Groundhog Day in the House didn’t produce a new speaker, it did offer hints on how an endgame in the battle for the speaker’s gavel may develop. It gave insight into the new balance of power in Washington and how Congress might work in the months ahead.

If it is the latter, it is not as constructive because it shouldn’t be about the personality but about the process. He told CNN that he has no idea how many people are in either camp.


Do not Turn a Great Triuph into a Giant & Embarracing Demonstration Unless You’re Sorry for the Washington Swamp

In impassioned floor speeches and interviews, Roy has argued that the House is finally having consequential debates. Under recent Democratic and Republican speakers, normal order and the sequencing of new laws through the committee process and debates on the House floor have been curtailed as severe partisanship and gridlock causes leaders to enforce ruthless party-line discipline.

Multiple funding bills on everything from farming to defense and transportation are often lumped together in massive end-of-year omnibus bills. Multiple Republican members appeared on CNN on Wednesday making reasoned arguments about the need to mend a broken institution, to open the House’s business to the public and to conduct a proper appropriations process through committees with time for full debates, budget assessments and amendments.

“I really think this is democracy in action,” North Carolina Republican Rep. Dan Bishop told CNN’s Jake Tapper. If you aren’t satisfied with Washington then you can’t be satisfied doing the same thing.

Apart from securing a concession from McCarthy that would make him almost a toothless speaker – with the return of a rule that would allow any member to call for a vote to unseat him – it’s not often clear what these members want. Or if there’s anything that McCarthy could give them that would change their minds.

This politics of destruction was sent into overdrive by ex-President Donald Trump, with his vows to drain the Washington “swamp.” At the beginning of the Trump administration, Steve Bannon referred to it as the deconstruction of the administrative state. McCarthy has cozied up to Trump and often appeased the extremists, but is still having difficulty with how to negotiate with someone who wants chaos.

Early on Wednesday, Trump delivered the kind of full-throated endorsement of McCarthy that the Californian must believe he was owed after his obsequious support of the ex-president following the January 6, 2021, insurrection.

Trump wrote on Truth Social that Kevin had to close the deal. “REPUBLICANS, DO NOT TURN A GREAT TRIUMPH INTO A GIANT & EMBARRASSING DEFEAT.”

It was the kind of social media blast that once would have had Republican members leaping into line. But no longer. It did not seem to change any votes.

“I disagree with Trump. This is the fight between us. This isn’t Trump’s – and I support Trump. I disagree with it. According to Norman, Kevin is the one who will censor him. Boebert said that her favorite president had phoned rebels against McCarthy to get them to give up their fight.

Her rebuke was the latest sign that after two years in political exile, a disastrous intervention in the midterms and a low energy 2024 campaign launch, Trump’s juice isn’t what it once was in GOP ranks in the House. While the ex-president’s rapport with the Republican base surely remains intact, this kind of insubordination is unlikely to have gone down well in Mar-a-Lago.

The Corrupt Congress of President Joe Biden and the House of Representatives: Reversing the 2016 GOP Insights Against Wall Street Crime and Police Instability

The chaos and recrimination that unfolds in parliaments in Europe and Israel, where it can sometimes take weeks or months to arrive at a leader or a majority, is the same as the spectacle in the House.

“It’s embarrassing for the country,” President Joe Biden said on Wednesday, as he capitalized on the chaos in an event in Kentucky highlighting bipartisan political leadership over his massive infrastructure package, appearing with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.

Biden honored a number of heroes on Friday, including Michael Fanone, a former Washington, DC police officer who was injured in the riot. “If Republicans can finally agree on a speaker, the same GOP leaders who spread former President Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election … will take the reins of power in the House,” Fanone wrote for CNN Opinion.

“This week marks two years since the most violent day of my law enforcement career, the same violent uprising that House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and many others in his party continue to downplay,” Fanone noted. The insurrectionists who attacked the Capitol two years ago ignored my pleas that I have kids.

There are a few examples. The frightening trend towards violent rhetoric seems certain to continue without intervention by Republican top brass.

Millions of Americans now believe that the use of force would be justified to restore Donald Trump to the presidency because of politically-motivated attacks on the rise across the nation. It’s important to reverse this dangerous trend.

The new GOP House leadership has to stand up for their party by condemning the political violence and rhetoric of their own party. And that starts with finally denouncing Trump, who remains to this day the Republican Party’s de facto leader. The incoming Speaker and the House leadership must demand that members of their party never again amplify language or take actions that put the lives of their constituents, their peers or law enforcement at risk.

The influential GOP House members have called the January 6 assault normal tourist visit. Some people called for Nancy Pelosi to be executed for treason and shared antisemitic messages on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Our leaders’ statements and actions have consequences. The kind of rhetoric Trump used to rile up his supporters has been used by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene to say that the insurrection on January 6 would have been armed. She claims she was being sarcastic and that she made the comment in jest.

Many of her rightwing allies in the House have promoted a conspiracy theory about rooming. In the wake of such outrageous statements, irate protesters call for the banning of books from local schools and overrun story hour at libraries.

The examples of recent acts of violence that appear to have been instigated by right-wing rhetoric are almost too numerous to name. MAGA rhetoric fueled the attack at the home of former Speaker Pelosi and the vandalization last month – allegedly by anti-LGBTQ activists – of the homes of three New York council members over opposition to drag queen story hour at libraries in the city.

Rep. Matt Gaetz encouraged voters to arm themselves at polls, and armed intimidation did take place as voters cast their ballots. Research shows that MAGA Republicans are more likely to support violence in order to their political objectives than other Republicans. There were threats against the FBI after agents searched Mar-a-Lago.

Republicans have made comments that are over-the-top. Unfortunately their extremist views also have been all-too-evident in their voting records. That includes the 147 members of Congress who voted against the results of 2020’s free and fair election and the 35 House Republicans who voted against the creation of the January 6th Commission.

And – what was for me a personal affront – there were 21 Republican members who, in an unconscionable action, voted against DC and Capitol Police officers like me receiving the presidential medal of freedom for our role defending the Capitol during the insurrection.

It might surprise some people who didn’t know me before January 6, but I’ve never considered myself to be a political person. I voted for Trump because I was turned off by the anti- police rhetoric on the left.

And sure, I dipped my toe into the last election, to oppose a few Trump-inspired candidates who I thought posed a danger to democracy. I don’t believe in politicians, but I do believe in people. I support two groups demanding sanity and accountability from our politicians.

This week, at an event calling on lawmakers to ramp up the fight against political violence, I’ll join veterans, members of Congress, and the group Courage for America, (which I’ve helped to found and have a leadership role in). Courage for America and Common Defense are calling for a renewed effort to combat the kind of right wing violence that almost ended my life. The planned venue for the event is the Capitol reflecting pool, where just two years ago, MAGA supporters erected a noose which they threatened they’d use to hang the nation’s Vice President, amid chants by the rioters of ”

            hang Mike Pence.”

The Case of Matt Gaetz: Why We Don’t Live in a Democracy without Partisanship, but a Compassionate Complaint

As a kid growing up, I was always a bit of a troublemaker; law enforcement turned out to be the perfect landing spot for a rambunctious kid without a clear sense of direction. Being a cop and being an investigator gave me the ability to keep revising and refining my conclusions as I got more information.

Even though I was surrounded by violent, shouting protesters, I was still able to see my four daughters in their faces.

I want them to live in a country where officials are accountable to the people they serve. Condemning political violence isn’t a partisan issue. It’s a moral one.

Julian Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University and works for CNN. He is the author and editor of 24 books, including his forthcoming co-edited work, “Myth America: Historians Take on the Biggest Lies and Legends About Our Past” (Basic Books). Follow him on Twitter @julianzelizer. The views expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion on CNN.

Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, one of the holdouts against McCarthy, responded to the former President’s endorsement on Wednesday with a statement that seemed to mock Trump’s own rhetoric. It was sad. Gaetz said something. It doesn’t change my views of McCarthy, Trump or my vote.

After more than 10 votes, the Republican obstructionists still didn’t budge. Gaetz cast his vote for Trump in the 7th and 8th rounds, and nominated him on the 11th, which is another sign that the former president’s power has waned at a time when the presidential campaign is expected to ramp up.

In certain respects, Trump is facing a dilemma many other presidents and legislative leaders have encountered before. The political playing field is changed by these leaders who inspire a new generation of politicians to follow in their footsteps. Former Speaker John Boehner, himself part of the Gingrich generation of Republicans that rocked Washington by abandoning old norms of governance and promoting a much more aggressive version of partisanship, repeatedly clashed with the Tea Party legislators he opened the doors of power to.

Over time, the acolytes demand more and become more extreme than the leader who originally welcomed them into the fold. This is what led Boehner to later blast Republicans like Jim Jordan as “legislative terrorists.” He became the establishment and they were the rebels.

A significant part of Trump’s influence was his nihilistic attitude of political combat. He encouraged a younger, more extreme group to demand power. It seems these burn-down-the-house conservatives will do almost anything in pursuit of victory and believe – like Trump – that chaos, instability, and hyper-divisiveness have great political value. Some of the Trump loyalists are close to concluding that they don’t need him at all, and they no longer need to follow everything he does.

As for Trump, his very influence could end up playing a role in his defeat. Although he cannot sway votes on Capitol Hill, he is likely to confront at least one politician like Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis or the US Ambassador to the UN who can present a more polished version of Trumpism without the baggage that comes with it. If the GOP is full of Trump style Republicans, voters might want to choose someone other than Donald Trump to lead them into the future.

The two-year anniversary of the Tea Party attack on the United States: Kevin McCarthy, Karen Boebert, and Marjorie Taylor Greene

Kevin McCarthy is the latest Republican leader to find out that it’s impossible to get ahead of his party’s inexorable march to its far-right extremes.

On the two-year anniversary of the most damaging attack on American democracy in modern times, he finds out that even that career-enhancer bet is not enough to get the votes of the Trump heirs in the chaos wing of the GOP.

In another surreal scene on the Hill this week, one of those Republicans, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene – who has downplayed the insurrection and said rioters would have “won” if she was in charge – is complaining about the extremism of some of her colleagues who oppose McCarthy.

The ex-president has strong political incentives for disruptor politicians in his image, even after the attack on the US Capitol.

Even though Trump doesn’t have a White House, the circus-style politics that he built on is still very much in place in the GOP. The GOP can’t take power due to the stalemate over the speaker, which means that lawmakers can’t even be sworn in before a leader is selected.

But that narrow margin – which will also put the majority in a precarious position on must-pass legislation like funding the government and raising the debt ceiling later on – is the direct result of voters being alienated by the ex-president’s incessant, false claims of 2020 voter fraud and the party failing to deliver the “red wave” many Republicans had predicted.

By balking at handing unfettered power to the GOP – and a House majority that would have been workable for McCarthy – voters who wanted a period of calm have inadvertently created a scenario that breeds the instability they appear to disdain.

According to Boebert, the country was watching democracy in action, even as McCarthy repeatedly racked up around 200 votes from his conference while his various radical opponents could only attract around 20. The defections of Democrats made it impossible for McCarthy to get the majority of the House’s support, since they backed their own leader Hakeem Jeffries who got more votes than McCarthy, but also short of 218.

This is not chaotic. This is a constitutional republic at work. Boebert said that this is a really beautiful thing. She’s correct in that the messiness unfolding on the floor is based on rules and procedures – the most basic elements of governing that Trump had sought to disrupt with his efforts to overturn the certification of the 2020 Electoral College votes.

Reply to the “Flight of the Revolution with a Democratic Leader: The Faint Case of the Ugly Republican Candidate” Gaetz

But her arguments founder on the reality of the rebels’ behavior. Many other Republicans have complained that it is not clear exactly what concessions the group around Gaetz, who have vowed to never support McCarthy, actually want.

In other words, the most extreme hardliners will only accept a candidate that shares their no-compromise, Nihilistic form of politics that effectively makes governing impossible.

The demands were the culmination of anti-government forces that were unleashed decades ago by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. They were the originators of the anti-Washington Tea Party movement. Trump then drove out much of the governing wing of the GOP as he effectively worked to bring down the institutions of government and accountability from inside as president.

Brian Fitzpatrick said to CNN that he was certain that there would be a solution for the problem soon.

After a humiliating three-day stretch of 11 consecutive defeats in an election that is now the most protracted such contest since 1859, Mr. McCarthy dispatched his emissaries Thursday night to finalize terms with the ultraconservative rebels, including agreeing to conditions he had previously refused to countenance in an effort to sway a critical mass of defectors.

They included a rule that would make it easier for a lawmaker to force a vote to oust the speaker, and that would allow Mr. McCarthy to be forced out if he crossed the hard-right lawmakers.

Is there an alternative to McCarthy? Republicans can coalesce around someone else if no viable candidate emerges to challenge Mr. McCarthy. The most obvious backup is Steve Scalise, the 2nd Republican in the House.

Did you miss the Republican Party that existed before Donald Trump came along? ‌Are you nostalgic for the days of John Boehner battling Tea Party rebels over the debt ceiling or the fiscal cliff, or Ted Cruz’s “plan” to defund Obamacare? Do you pine for the years when the crucial test of conservative purity was a commitment to an implausible deficit reduction plan, the good old days when empty suits and aspiring lobbyists battled libertarian ideologues and aspiring cable-news personalities for the chance to advance an agenda of mild austerity and business-friendly tax cuts?

Not that the flood didn’t change the landscape. Some of the House Republicans who have been bedeviled by McCarthy are Tea Party conservatives, while others are more Trumpian figures and brands. The Senate may be used in a different way in the future, as figures like J.D. Vienne, Josh Hawley and Tom Cotton are not libertarians. The cultural issues of the national party and its governors are more likely to be in conflict than the fiscal ones. And Trump himself is hardly finished.

CNN Highlights: Frederick Huntington Gillett’s 1923 Vote for the House of Representatives and his 2021 Case against President Joe Biden

This weekly column can be sign up for as a newsletter. We’re looking back at the strongest, smartest opinion takes of the week from CNN and other outlets.

Frederick Huntington Gillett was the model of a New England gentleman. He went to Harvard Law School before he became a member of the US House. Gillett was so calm and laid back that a reporter joked that the Massachusetts congressman would refuse coffee in the morning “for fear it would keep him awake all day.”

His inoffensiveness may even have been an asset in winning the support of his Republican colleagues for House Speaker in 1919 and 1921. In 1923, a small group of progressive Republicans blocked Gillett’s victory until the ninth ballot after the party’s leadership agreed to rule changes giving rank-and-file members more influence.

Even if McCarthy squeaks out the leadership, the powerful and vocal contingent of his party has publicly humiliated him, and expressed their lack of confidence in his control.

After this bruising episode, the House Republicans face even bigger tests: Will they hold America’s credit rating hostage by refusing to raise the debt ceiling? What kind of oversight will they exercise over the Biden administration? Will the aid to Ukraine be blocked by them? McCarthy will be able to lead in an effective way.

The speakership drama extended through the second anniversary of January 6, 2021, when rioters stormed the Capitol to try to block the certification of Joe Biden’s election as president. In a striking moment that day, police drew their guns at the door of the House chamber to protect its members, who were later evacuated.


The horrific incident of the Baltimore Ravens quarterback Jimmy Hamlin collapsed on the field of Monday Night Football: The story of the Detroit Lions wide receiver Chuck Hughes

Hamlin collapsed after tackling a rival player on Monday Night Football. Hamlin was resuscitated on the field, and by the end of the week he was able to speak and move his arms and legs.

Coy Wire played for the Bills and Falcons before becoming a journalist and wrote that he feels the physical pains from his nine seasons in the NFL. I have a titanium plate and four screws in my neck. I had multiple concussions, including one in Buffalo where I had no recollection of what happened until I watched the game during film sessions the next day. I can remember how frightening injuries can be.

“That’s why, as the horrific scene unfolded on Monday night … and as tears came pouring down players’ faces as they prayed … mental wounds were reopened as haunting memories came flooding back in.”

A few hours before Hamlin’s collapse, Paul Rieckhoff, a former high school and college football player, was watching his two young sons in a game of playground football. “I was talking to another dad who, like me, played college football and has an 8-year-old son (one year older than my oldest). We chatted about his son’s first experience playing full tackle football in pads this fall. I can’t see letting my son hit that early. Maybe it will ever be. I just can’t.

The story of Chuck Hughes, the Detroit Lions wide receiver who died during a 1971 game after suffering a fatal heart attack, was told by Jeff Pearlman. Less than 10 minutes after Hughes’ body was taken off the field, the game was back on, Pearlman noted. But times have changed. A Bills game was suspended after Hamlin collapsed.


The Prince Harrys of Avatar: The Way of Water: How Harry and Kate Induced Their Families to Disrupt Their Childhoods

“If the Russian account is accurate, it was the cell phones that the novice troops were using in violation of regulations that allowed Ukrainian forces to target them most accurately,” Andelman wrote. “The errors by the Russian military are now becoming so blatant, and as the Makiivka attack shows, so deadly to Russian forces, that some of (Russian President Vladimir) The military establishment has begun being turned on by Putin’s most ardent apologists.

“Avatar: The Way of Water” may be on its way to earning as much as $2 billion at the box office, but Jeff Yang was wary of going to see director James Cameron’s sequel until his 14-year-old son persuaded him. It took a half hour for me to really get used to the idea of seeing a motion picture in person for the first time.

While audiences and critics will praise the movie’s creativity and attention to detail, they likely won’t know how much of the movie’s great world building is just an act of elaborate Collage, snapping together elements from scores of our world.

Prince Harry chose to title his new book, publishing Tuesday, “Spare,” after the adage that people in the line of succession need to have “an heir and a spare.”

The book’s revelations are already being called “jaw-dropping,” but there’s a basic contradiction in the continuing saga of Harry, Meghan and the royal family, wrote Peggy Drexler.

The family was unhappy with the attention that came with being royals, including being tabloid fodder. In an excerpt from an upcoming interview, Harry told ITV: ‘I want a family. Not an institution.

“And fodder it is. In the film, Harry accuses William of causing a physical altercation with him by knocking him to the floor and then leaving him scratched and bruised, and claims that William and his wife, Kate, were the ones responsible for encouraging him.

“Competition between children is common, and sibling rivalry between brothers even more so, especially when there are just two of them,” noted Drexler, a psychologist. Most are not raised in families with set hierarchies that remind them of their place. But brotherly discord has existed throughout time, inspiring countless works of art in all spheres (most of them tragedies). Harry is not special—his is one of the commonest dramas of human nature.”

The New York Repatriation: McCarthy’s Freedom in the Light of “Suny” and “Non-Loud”

McCarthy is defending himself against accusations that he is acting from political motives. He told The New York Times he handed over the security tapes because he had “promised” to do so. According to the GOP source, the Speaker gave the promise to Gaetz that he should get the footage, however the deal did not say that Carlson should get it. McCarthy said to the Times that he was acting in the interest of transparency. “I was asked in the press about these tapes, and I said they do belong to the American public. I think sunshine lets everybody make their own judgment.”

He isn’t giving them to the American people or releasing them to the media because he wants people to know about them. The host of a conservative TV show has made no secret of his agenda, so the speaker is offering access to him. Had he wanted to create that ray of sunshine, McCarthy could have posted them online, tasked congressional committees to examine them or invited other media outlets to also view them.

“The voters of his district have elected him,” McCarthy said of the freshman in January, suggesting that to demand the resignation of the New York Republican would be an affront to democracy – even though it appears voters had no idea of the truth about Santos when they sent him to Washington. If the House Ethics Committee discovers something against a district that Biden won in 2020, McCarthy could change his position.

The border security legislation that McCarthy was hoping to bring to a vote in the new Congress is currently in a hold up after moderates voiced opposition to a draft by Roy. The dispute underscores the fatal flaw in the GOP majority between right-wingers keen to appeal to the base and moderates who won seats in states like New York and California, where they could face difficult reelection bids in 2024.

CNN also reported this week on bitter splits between factions of the GOP on the question of more aid for Ukraine. McCarthy has tried to reconcile the differences by saying he supports support for the Kyiv government but does not want a blank check for Zelensky, in a nod to Gaetz and others who do not like US aid packages. The speaker is not alienating either group yet, but it will come under pressure in the near future when massive requests for arms and ammunition for Ukraine arrive on Capitol Hill.

The California Republican may end up with a fateful choice between backing the lawmakers who elected him speaker and crashing the economy, since, if he tried to grant Biden such authority by using some Democratic votes, it’s possible he’d be toppled.

Emails and other documents made public in the suit show, for example, that Tucker Carlson believed that the claims that Dominion corrupted its software to allow voter fraud were false: “The software shit is absurd,” he wrote. There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way subverted, according to a Fox reporter. It is hurting the company. The stock price is down. Not a joke.

Trump and the far-right: a bridge between false revolution and paranoia? A response to Herf on Trump’s frustration with the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville

Jeffrey Herf told me in an email that the bond between Trump and the far right was related to the fact that they were both inclined to conspiracy and paranoia. “Trump without conspiracy theorizing is a nonentity,” he added, in a comment with wider applicability to the contemporary conservative movement.

Trump’s core voters, Herf continued, “love him for expressing their resentments, and for pointing to tangible targets for their anger. Trump’s ‘fine people on both sides’ after the neo-Nazi riots in Charlottesville indicated that he understood very well that his coalition included voters who were both openly racist and antisemitic.”

was one of national liberation for constituencies whose anger had been growing since the 1960s. He smashed taboos. His rallies were enormously liberating, a huge rush of emotion and relief for his supporters. The genie was out of the bottle as the return of the repressed cultural counterrevolution. It can take a long time to get the genie back in the bottle after you unleash those hatreds.

Trump is trapped by the base. Much of his base is anti-vaccine, so he can’t campaign on the crash program to develop the Covid vaccines during his administration. Trump’s strength has always been his capacity to convince supporters that he is one of them, sharing their opinions, grievances, sense of victimhood, etc., and it would be a problem for him if they become disillusioned on this score.

The parallels between Fox News and Trump are clear: Trump needs to meet expectations, otherwise his audience will desert him.

Trump has built his political brand and the loyal and fervent following of his base on both implicit and explicit expressions of grievance and fear of the “other.” He is dependent on projecting the right messages and some in particular, which target specific groups and can be justified even if there is little blowback, to do so. This is the case as he does not make antisemitic statements and has not known he was dining with an antisemite.


When the G.O.P. fell in line behind Trump in 2016, the horse was out of the barn… a response to a campaign by Rouse

The same “is true of the contemporary G.O.P.,” Rouse argued in an email. “When the party fell in line behind Trump in 2016, the horse was out of the barn, not only for Trump, but for those who have embraced and promulgated this politics of grievance. The establishment wing of the party gets enough ambiguity to justify continued support for Trump and these members.

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