Lee Heidhues 9.22.2022
It won’t be a pretty picture in 2023 if, as most pundits and polls predict, Republicans take control of the House of Repesentatives.
What Trump didn’t accomplish on January 6, 2021with his attempted Coup d’etat will take place under the guise of the representatives of the People.
Excerpted from New York Intelligencer – 9.22.2022
Next year, if Republicans have the majority again, they will enter office with far more fury and star power than whatever the tea party brought to bear.
The new class of Republicans will be overwhelmingly loyal to Donald Trump, with many of them elected in primaries that have become, more than anything else, tests of how slavishly devoted a politician can be to the MAGA brand.
It’s Trump’s party in every way, even if he’s indicted, even if Ron DeSantis runs for president. Many of these House Republicans tout all of his conspiracies and fever dreams. They are devoted to the Big Lie of 2020, that Trump somehow didn’t lose an election to Biden.
Unlike the Senate Republican contenders, who have been forced to moderate themselves to appeal to statewide electorates, House Republicans face almost no such pressure, especially in gerrymandered districts. They can be as unhinged as they want to be.
The new class of MAGA Republicans will be far more formidable, in terms of their mass followings and messaging, than any of the kingmakers of the tea-party period.
The 2010s version of the Freedom Caucus never had anyone like Marjorie Taylor Greene, who — with her more than 1 million Twitter followers — possesses all of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s media savvy and will probably be able to mount a presidential bid someday.
Greene, like AOC, has found alternative channels to burnish her brand, growing into a right-wing social-media star almost overnight. Greene’s ascension to the majority will, at the minimum, catalyze all of her pet causes, like declaring the United States a Christian nation, railing against transgender surgery for minors, and QAnon.
Greene will have acolytes and rivals, those with their enormous fanbases in the new majority. Lauren Boebert, the Colorado congresswoman who gained fame for touting her love of assault weapons, is younger than Greene and has even more followers on Twitter.
Twitter isn’t real life, but with a weak speakership, personalities will matter. The two are not exactly friendly, but will be united in their hatred of Biden and the Democrats — or at least in their enthusiasm for impeachment. More young stars of the MAGA movement may be on their way. All of them will be positioned to deny the outcome of the 2024 election too, if Biden or another Democrat manages to triumph.
Presiding over all of this will probably be Kevin McCarthy, the Republican minority leader from California who is not known for his legislative prowess or ability to manage a caucus. He will be a weaker speaker than John Boehner or Paul Ryan, and will probably bow to whatever cause the far right wants to push in a particular month.
He will not be in charge of the House in any real sense, but rather captive to the conspiratorial currents online that fuel Greene, Boebert, and their ideological allies. As his resurrection of Trump after January 6 shows, he will, if necessary, subvert democracy to stay in power.