Will Democratic Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) become Speaker of the House before this Congress is over?
Consider this article by Kyle Kondik, from the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, which reports there are 18 Republicans currently in the House, in Congressional Districts won by Joe Biden, in 2020. In other words, there are 18 GOP Representatives that could lose their reelection if the Republican controlled House cannot govern.
All it would take is four of these Republicans (less than 1/4th of them) to either switch parties, or become Independents, or even remain Republicans but caucus with Democrats to flip the House and make Hakeem Jeffries the Speaker.
To date, it’s been the MAGA Republicans in the House that have been flexing their muscles, and got Kevin McCarthy to give into nearly every demand they made in order to vote for his Speakership. Indeed, Rep. Matt Gaetz, says that he “ran out things to ask for,” before finally ending his blockade of McCarthy.
To date, these 18 moderate Republicans have kept quiet and let McCarthy do what he needed to do to secure the Speaker’s gavel. But when do they start making their own demands, in order to ensure their own political survival?
What if House Republicans don’t pass a debt ceiling, and the economy begins to crater? What if the House can’t pass a defense authorization bill, risking the national security of the nation? What if they threaten to close the government for any number of far right demands like eliminating the IRS or ending our support of Ukraine. What if they trigger a vote on Speaker McCarthy, and Republicans can’t agree on a new leader? Then, as the government stops functioning, what will those 18 moderate Republicans do?
Maybe the easiest way to break the logjam is for four of them to switch parties and vote for Speaker Hakeem Jeffries.
To try and soften the blow, these Republicans could get a power sharing agreement (concessions) from Jeffries like equal representation on congressional committees, and a bi-partisan consensus on those committees to issue a subpoena. Let’s be honest, pretty much anything they ask, Hakeem Jeffries would give them in order to claim the Speaker’s mantle.
Ultimately, it seems that things are going to get ugly in the House. Especially when Republican Minority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell cuts a deal with Senate Democrats on a “must pass” piece of legislation and kicks that legislation over to the House. If the MAGA Republicans block it (as former President Donald Trump might demand), there is going to be a stalemate that divides Republicans, but unites Democrats. As America watches the Republican civil war break out in the halls of Congress, four of those Republicans could seek to end the turmoil by switching parties and allowing Speaker Hakeem Jeffries to pass the legislation.
During the Speaker showdown, Don Bacon of Nebraska, one of those Republican Congressman in a district won by Joe Biden, told Politico reporter Olivia Beavers that: “If this remains the face of the GOP in 2024 we will get pummeled in the Presidential and Congressional elections.”
I couldn’t say it better myself. And, it’s a solid rationale for a Republican Representative to try and save their own seat in 2024, by voting for Speaker Hakeem Jeffries.