The U.S. House, to state the obvious, is a mess.
I’m no expert of House caucus politics or rules (if there are any) but I get the basics. And here they are:
The GOP caucus will meet today to pick its candidate for Speaker. Simple majority wins, which means likely that victor will be Kevin McCarthy. The Democrats also will pick a candidate, likely Nancy Pelosi. Those two will face off on the House floor where you need 218 votes to win. Republicans have 247 votes in the House. BUT the Tea Party types (who like to look good losing) are claiming they will vote in a bloc against McCarthy on the floor. If neither candidate wins 218 votes, the voting goes on in rounds until someone gets to 218.
That, of course, will take what the Tea Partyers don’t like to make on policy: a deal. They want their way or the highway. In this case, their way is likely getting a Tea Party seat at the leadership table, and their eyes are on Majority Leader, the chair McCarthy would vacate if elected Speaker. That’s a deal that could be cut today, IF McCarthy wants a back stabber sitting next to him at that leadership table.
Here’s where my dream scenario comes in: A “simple” answer – if Republicans and Democrats in the House really want government to work – meaning compromises on both sides – McCarthy supporters and some Democrats could band together to elect McCarthy pretty easily. That will take deal-cutting, too. But isn’t that what most of us want? A House that will make deals (i.e., compromise) to get this country moving again?
So, a “simple” caucus exercise in each party could lead (in my dreams) to a game-changer in Washington politics and government: A House united rather than a House divided.
Wake me when it’s over.