The House speaker debacle continued Friday with Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy inching closer to being the next speaker of the House. But a small group of “Never Kevin” holdouts have refused to give McCarthy the few votes he needs to win. Instead, this group has shown they are truly the Karens of Congress, throwing a fit and obstructing progress because they can’t get their way.
As Time explained in a recent article, the “Never Kevins” who insist this is democracy in action are really just trolling the institution they claim to respect.
While McCarthy has picked up more votes, he still fell short after a historic thirteenth vote Friday afternoon. Shortly before 3:30 p.m., the Clerk of the House of Representatives Cheryl Thompson announced McCarthy inched closer to 218, with 214 votes from his party. After four days, the anti-Kevin contingent was down to six holdouts.
The chamber erupted in genuine applause for Thompson who led the process with grace and wisdom. A motion to adjourn until 10 p.m. Friday night passed almost entirely along party lines.
Republicans seemed to cheer the progress made with some of the “Never Kevin” crew finally falling in line. But Democratic Rep. Don Beyer said another round of failed votes was nothing to cheer about.
“Republicans are acting like a failed Speaker vote is a big win because Kevin McCarthy failed by a bit less,” Beyer tweeted. “Before this week the House of Representatives had not seen a failed Speaker vote for 100 years. It’s happened 12 times now, and we still don’t have a Speaker.”
And Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib took it a step further, pointing out this is the “most drawn out speaker vote since before the Civil War.”
The so-called Freedom Caucus is even more stubborn than its tea party predecessor. Coverage from Rolling Stone noted that some of the “Never Kevins” were fundraising off the stunt, sending emails to their supporters to raise money during this crucial time.
The chaos is also attributed to unchecked gerrymandering. And while the party currently in the majority in the House is struggling to gain consensus on a new speaker, they are very aligned when it comes to promoting changes that undermine our health and well-being.
Given the latest jobs report and signs of a cooling economy, Americans are still looking to elected leaders to address the challenges and bread-and-butter issues impacting their lives. This philosophical war of wits happening over power plays with an extremist
House progressive leader Rep. Pramila Jayapal recently said the chaos on display during the House speaker vote is a sign of the difficulty that lies ahead.
“This has been a long time coming,” Jayapal told KUOW. “Republicans, including moderate Republicans, allowed extreme MAGA Republicans to get away with some of the worst assaults on the United States Capitol on January 6 . … And I think this is another version of the attack on the institutions that allow us to be a functioning democracy. That is very much on the shoulders of these Republicans who have allowed Donald Trump to be the cult figure of the Republican Party.”