Left and Right

Chapo’s Will Menaker on Capitol Hill Chaos

Welcome to the longest contest for Speaker of the House in 164 years. (What the hell was going on in 1859?) If you’re following the latest drama in Congress, you know that former Minority Leader of the House, California Republican Kevin McCarthy, just can’t seem to get the votes to become Speaker of the House. But why are elements of his party holding the votes hostage? What’s on the table for them to win? That’s the focus of our discussion with this week’s guest, Chapo Trap House co-host Will Menaker, as well as the question it opens up more broadly: about how the Trump wing of the Republican Party butts heads with the other factions, and whether it’s outgrown Trump himself.

It could take fourteen or fifteen rounds of votes for McCarthy to get elected, another Republican, Utah’s Chris Stewart, told CNN. Now, we on the show definitely understand that McCarthy is just plain unlikable. But what’s in it for the holdouts? New members of Congress can’t be sworn in without a new Speaker, and our legislative body is at a standstill. As of yesterday night, twenty Republicans refused to vote in McCarthy for the Speaker role. Fifteen broke for him today, but it’s still not enough. McCarthy will need to win votes from over half of all present members of the House, and with only a slight Republican majority, the missing votes will prevent him from securing the position.

We talk to Will about what’s at stake here for the “ultra-MAGA contingent” posing a roadblock to McCarthy’s confirmation. We’ve got a number of different theories which might actually combine to explain the standoff: McCarthy just doesn’t have the confidence of his colleagues; people like Matt Gaetz and Lauren Boebert see him as a sellout and would prefer an even further-right Speaker; some the holdouts have made conflict their brand, and negotiating isn’t the point; others are committed to an older Tea Party-style agenda about low debt ceilings and balanced budgets.

We’ll see how it all plays out in the days to come. We’re glad to have Will with us to unpack the insanity unfolding in D.C.’s halls of power, and we think you’ll appreciate his insight. Remember that you can listen to this episode as a podcast when it’s released tomorrow on Spotify, Pandora, Apple Podcasts, and more.

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