The House of Representatives has been mired in an internal civil war. It has been a House divided against itself. The speaker fight was about two wings of the GOP duking it out in the House: extremists and institutionalists. These two teams have different goals and motivations.
- The extremists don’t want government to work. If government doesn’t work then Biden can be blamed and democracy can be seen as a failed form of government. The goal of GOP extremists is to trash the system and crash our government. To that end they are fine with a shut down and fine with an inability to get a speaker. For them, chaos IS the goal.
- Republican institutionalists still want the government to work. They were embarrassed about the inability to find the next speaker and pass legislation. Even though they are institutionalists, however, doesn’t mean they are not Trump loyalists. They are. Trump owns the GOP lock stock and barrel. All Republicans are supporters of Trump.
If you view what is happening in the House through that lens, what has been going on makes perfect sense.
THE COUP CAUCUS
After McCarthy was kicked out of the speaker job, Steve Scalise tried to win it and failed. Then insurrectionist Jim Jordan tried to win the speakership in the House with Trump’s blessing. But he failed to get the votes. The institutionalists in the House couldn’t stomach Jordan. They refused to vote for him despite the fact that Jordan and Steve Bannon got their MAGA brown shirts to threaten House Republican hold outs, their wives and families with death and/or harassment, if Jordan did not get their vote. That Trumpian tactic for bullying and coercion did not work to get Jordan the speakership, which felt like a hopeful moment. In a final secret ballot, Jordan lost the vote 112 to 86. But as you will see, that hopeful moment turned out to be just that– a moment.
Eight more Republicans vied for the speakership after Jordan failed to win. Rep Emmer emerged for awhile as the strongest contender, but because he believed Biden won the election, both Bannon and Trump trashed Emmer who withdrew from the race.
Trump did not have the power to get Jim Jordan into the speakership but he is still powerful enough to have a veto over Emmer because he did not support the coup or go all in on the Big Lie.
It also became clear that the chaos in the House was being stirred up from behind the scenes by Steve Bannon, Sean Hannity and Trump. The next leader of the House was not acceptable to the coup caucus if he was bipartisan and willing to work with Democrats across the aisle. He had to be a card carrying Trump extremist to get elected speaker. But he also had to be someone who at least looked reasonable enough that the Republicans elected from the 18 districts in states won by Biden could claim that they didn’t know the guy was an anti-democracy flame thrower. They needed a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
And that’s who they got.
MIKE JOHNSON WHO?
The winner of what looked like the speakership raffle contest turned out to be Republican Mike Johnson from Louisiana, a relative unknown.
Why did he win? Because he was quietly a member of the coup, is an extremist, and has not been in a leadership position long enough to have enemies in the House who want revenge.
His extremist bona fides?
- He voted to decertify the 2020 election.
- He is a constitutional lawyer who along with John Eastman helped to create the rationale for the false elector scheme and one of the leaders of the effort to overturn the 2020 election by contributing to an amicus brief brought by Republican AGs to overturn the 2020 election. (That appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court.)
- He is on Team Putin because he doesn’t want to give more aide to Ukraine.
- He also wants a national abortion ban with no exceptions.
- He wants to abolish the social safety net: Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.
- He voted against the continuing resolution to keep the government open. As you might remember, that vote was the poison pill that got McCarthy kicked out of his speakership.
- He is anti-LGBTQ.
Johnson might LOOK like he is more of a moderate guy because he is less of a loud mouth and wears a suit, but he isn’t. He is more unknown because he has not been on Fox News or building his social media following. Being more of an unknown helped him win the speakership. House Republicans had became desperate to look like they aren’t a clown car. Johnson helped them look better.
But it won’t last.
OK, one possibly hopeful thing is that Mike Johnson has an adopted son who is Black. Perhaps that means Johnson will have some understanding of the need for our country to become an inclusive multi cultural democracy. Maybe he will understand how unfair our country is to young Black men. We shall see. All in all, however, Trump and the coup wing of the caucus prevailed. Mike Johnson is a more soft spoken version of Jim Jordan with a suit jacket and a drawl.
IS THERE SOME OTHER REASON THE REPUBLICANS WANT A FULL ON COUP PLOTTER IN THE ROLE OF SPEAKER?
Yes. There might be. There is a plan afoot that could catapult Trump back into the presidency using the help of No Labels. This could happen by throwing the election in 2024 to the House of Representatives where the decision about who would be president would be decided by the state delegates instead of the voters. There are more Republican state houses than Democratic state houses. Trump could regain the presidency by using that game plan. And it would be legal.
Let’s unpack this.
What is No Labels?
No Labels claims to be a centrist political group that wants to field a third party candidate, something they are calling a “unity ticket”. They say this is called for because Americans don’t want a rematch between Trump and Biden. In the past, No Labels has supported both Democrats and Republicans, but recently this dark money organization has moved to the ultra right with the support of powerful right-wing donors including Harlan Crow. (Yes, that Harlan Crow who has befriended Justice Thomas in the Supreme Court by giving him millions of dollars in unreported “gifts”.)
The current No Labels plan is to field someone more moderate at the top of the No Labels ticket and try to sell that ticket to the key battleground states of Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. They think that approach could deny both Trump and Biden a 270 electoral college majority. If that were to happen, the outcome of the election would end up getting thrown to the House to decide, following the poorly written, confusing, relatively untested rules in our constitution. The House would then call for a vote by state delegation. Since the Republicans hold a 26 to 22 state delegation advantage, with two states, Minnesota and North Carolina, having evenly split state delegations, Trump would most likely regain the presidency using this game plan. (No wonder right-wing Republicans are donating to No Labels!)
The most discussed potential candidate for No Labels has been Manchin, who has declined to say whether he would participate in this effort. Poll data suggesting a No Labels campaign would hurt Biden more than Trump—as well as the conservative bent of the few previously known funders of the group, such as billionaire Harlan Crow, the billionaire benefactor of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and a collector of Nazi memorabilia—has prompted Democratic strategists to speculate that this endeavor is a not-too-secret project to elect Trump or another Republican. (Mother Jones)
That effort might be Plan A to get Trump back in office. But if Biden gets to 270 or more in the Electoral College that plan would not work. What’s their Plan B to get Trump back in office?
That’s where I think Mike Johnson or another coup member as speaker of the House comes in.
In the event the election is close, the Republicans will once again claim voter fraud as they did in 2020. The only reason the insurrectionists in the House did not manage to get the 2020 election thrown to the House to decide was because Pence as VP in charge of certifying the election on January 6th, refused to play along. After the election of 2024, if the House is still under the control of the Republican Party on January 6th when the new House members are seated, then Mike Johnson, as the speaker, could refuse to certify the election, plunging the election outcome into chaos and, again, following the rules in our constitution, throwing the presidency decision to the House delegations to decide. Having a complicit speaker who will not certify the election is the GOP’s most likely Plan B to get Trump back in the Oval Office.
HOW TO AVOID THIS OUTCOME
To avoid this potential outcome Democrats need to regain control of the House in 2024. If Democrats retake control of the House, Hakeem Jefferies would be the Speaker of the House in charge of the certification and we will not have to worry about Mike Johnson and the coup caucus refusing to certify the results of our election.
Biden also MUST win the presidential election by a wide enough margin over 270 to be convincing if we hope to avoid more chaos from extremists.
BIDEN AND TEAM SANE HELPED OUR COUNTRY AVOID RECESSION
There is no reason Biden cannot win re-election. Yes, he is old. So what. He is wise. And, more important, he has been one of the best presidents we have ever had even if he is not getting credit for all he has done to help our country get through the pandemic without a recession and so much more.
On Oct. 17, 2022, Bloomberg forecast a 100% probability that the U.S. would enter a recession within the next year — describing it as a “blow” to Biden’s economic messaging ahead of the midterms.
Why it matters: The Biden campaign — which has aggressively promoted the president’s record on the economy, even as many Americans remain pessimistic — took a victory lap today after that projection failed to bear out.
Driving the news: Retail sales crushed expectations in September, reflecting resilient consumer demand that could explain why the broader economy has kept growing despite sky-high interest rates.
Americans don’t yet understand how well Biden has done as our president. He has managed our economy extremely well. GDP growth was just reported to be a whopping 4.9%!! Our global influence has increased, he helped the world navigate the unfair attack on Ukraine, climate change legislation, the rights of women, freedom and human rights. Biden has insisted on efforts to help Americans have better lives by paying less for their prescription medications, keeping social security, Medicare and Medicaid. He has helped people to get out from under student loan debt. His policies have created thousands of new well paying jobs across the country.
Biden deserves more credit for all he has done to actually make America great again. When Americans learn about what Biden has done, that alters their view of him and his approvals go up. The Democrats need to inform Americans about the good Biden has done. It is up to ALL OF US to get out the word about Biden’s accomplishments. If you want to keep our democracy tell everyone about the good Biden and the Dems have done and rely on the facts because they are convincing that Biden and his team have done a great job.
This research by Navigator can provide you with important information about what Biden has accomplished. https://navigatorresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/Navigator-Update-10.24.2023.pdf?emci=4170a69a-c771-ee11-b004-00224832eb73&emdi=82d10904-5272-ee11-b004-00224832eb73&ceid=1390022
America has a split screen right now. There are two political parties but only one is a legitimate political party. The other one is a cult that is hell bent on ending democracy and installing an autocracy. Team Coup is led by Trump. Team Sane is led by Biden. Team Coup wants to prove democracy is a failed approach to governance, therefore we should have a dictatorship and guess who should lead it? Team Sane wants you to have the freedom to read the books you want to read, love the people you want to love, have control over your own body and have a successful life as an American.
Which team do you want in charge of your government and your life?