Rachel Maddow explains the massive ramifications for Republicans if Kevin McCarthy isn’t elected speaker

Rachel Maddow stated that the new Congress will not begin unless Kevin McCarthy or someone else is elected the next Speaker of the House.


Rachel Maddow explained that the stakes for Kevin McCarthy are more than embarrassment:

Maybe more than that and the problem with that isn’t just, oh, that’s embarrassing for Kevin McCarthy and that’s going to be a pastime for Kevin McCarthy and the Republicans, oh, that’s bad optics, no, if he doesn’t get elected speaker, if if someone is not elected Speaker, it means there is no Congress.

A Speaker of the House is the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Until someone is elected speaker, there is no chairman, and that means nothing else can happen, including the swearing-in of the new members of Congress. I mean, calendar wise, all new congressmen are supposed to be sworn in tomorrow at noon when the old congress ends.

But if there aren’t enough votes to elect someone speaker, if there aren’t 218 votes by then to elect Kevin McCarthy or anyone else speaker, no one will be sworn in. No new congress will begin. There will be no house affairs, no voting, no committees, nothing until a speaker is elected. If they don’t get 218 votes when they vote on it when they take their first ballot tomorrow, all they can do in Congress is keep voting, over and over, doing nothing else until someone finally succeeds.

The idea that Republicans are so screwed up that their dysfunction has resulted in no new Congress is overwhelming. It also sends a message of power to the rest of the country that Republicans cannot govern. The rigged midterm that gave them their slim majority will look like an even bigger black eye if Republicans can’t pull together their collective act enough to start the new Congress.

Currently, Kevin McCarthy does not have the votes to be elected speaker. He may never get the votes to be elected Speaker, but someone has to be Speaker or there will be no Congress.

Everything is setting the stage for what could be a fascinating and historic day in American politics, as House Republicans could be about to hit a new low.

Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House press pool and congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a bachelor’s degree in political science. His thesis focused on public policy with a specialization in social reform movements.

Awards and professional memberships

Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Political Science Association

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