The Republican Party in the US House of Representatives is in a state of dysfunction. For weeks, the party’s members have been unable to agree on a new Speaker, after ousting Kevin McCarthy from the position. This infighting has paralyzed the House and made it impossible for the party to govern effectively. After 22 days without a Speaker, House Republicans eventually elected Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) for Speaker. Why did this dysfunction happen?
The root of the problem is the deep rift within the GOP between moderate and hardline Republicans– most prominently, Rep. Matt Gaetz and eight of his colleagues. The hardliners, who are often referred to as the “MAGA caucus,” are fiercely loyal to former President Donald Trump and are unwilling to support any candidate for Speaker who they do not believe shares such loyalty.
The moderate Republicans, on the other hand, tend to be more interested in governing effectively and working with Democrats on bipartisan legislation. They are also concerned that hardline stances can alienate their voter base and hurt the party’s chances of success in the 2024 elections.
There have been irrevocable consequences because of this dysfunction. The failure of the GOP to elect a Speaker brought to light the unwillingness of extreme groups within the party to effectively work as a team. First, it has prevented the House from passing a budget or funding resolution for the government. This could very well lead to a government shutdown in November, which would be a major embarrassment for the Republican Party. Not only that, but Speaker McCarthy used all his political capital on this fundamental issue, and it was a key part of the reason why he was ousted from his position.
Second, the infighting has made it impossible for the House to pass any legislation or focus on important issues like the economy, healthcare, and infrastructure. This is hurting the American people and damaging the country’s reputation on the world stage. The world often looks to the United States as a global leader on democracy and stability, and this infighting has tested the strength and stability of American democracy.
Third, the GOP’s dysfunction is making the party look ridiculous to the public. A recent poll found that only 15% of Americans approve of the job Republicans are doing in Congress, compared to 13% for Democrats. This low approval rating is a sign that the American people are losing faith in Congress’ ability to govern and do its job.
The GOP’s infighting is a masterpiece of dysfunction. It is a self-inflicted wound that is hurting the party, the country, and the American people. The Republican Party needs to get its act together and learn from the problem. Otherwise, it will face the consequences of its own inaction in the 2024 elections.