C-SPAN video of January’s Speaker of the House election.
The uproar that erupted last month during Kevin McCarthy’s election as speaker illustrated the potential for serious dysfunction in the House’s new Republican majority. And the spectacle created by Republican lawmakers during the State of the Union address showcased the unruly behavior of some in the GOP rank and file that is becoming a new normal.
Many legislators leading a chorus of boos and fuss were familiar faces of the far right, including some on the verge of wielding real power in the 118th Congress. The defining dynamic for House Republicans, who hold a four-vote majority, may be the push and pull between the far right and the rest of the Republican conference.
Here’s a closer look at the tricky House Republican caucus.
Departures and newcomers
The caucus has shifted to the right in other ways, too, due to the departure of anti-party conservatives. Nearly three-quarters of Republican House members who did not run for re-election or who lost their 2022 primaries voted to impeach Trump or form the January 6 committee. Nearly the entire group also voted to certify the 2020 Electoral College results, in defiance of Mr. Trump and a vast majority of House Republicans.
Republicans who did not run for re-election or lost their primaries
A table shows House Republicans who lost their primaries or left Congress and voted to impeach Trump or to form the January 6 committee.
|Former member||Impeach Trump||January 6 committee form||Form 6 Jan. comm.||Certify the 2020 elections|
Jaime Herrera Beutler Used to be. 3rd
Beutler Used to be. 3rd
Liz Cheney Wyo. In general
Cheney Wyo. In general
Anthony Gonzalez Ohio 16th
Gonzalez Ohio 16th
John Katko 24 NY
Katko 24 NY
Adam Kinzinger Fig. 16th
Kinzinger Fig. 16th
Peter Meijer Mic. 3rd
Meijer Mic. 3rd
Fred Upton 6th Mic
Upton 6th Mic
Rodney Davis 13th
Trey Hollingsworth Ind. 9th
Hollingsworth Ind. 9th
David B. McKinley W.Va 1st
McKinley W.Va 1st
Tom Rice SC 7th
Rice SC 7th
from Taylor Texas 3rd
Taylor Texas 3rd
Kevin Brady Texas 8th
brady Texas 8th
Chris Jacobs 27 NY
Jacobs 27 NY
Madison Cawthorn NC 11th
Cawthorne NC 11th
Bob Gibbs Ohio 7th
Gibbs Ohio 7th
Fred Keller Dad. 12th
Keller Dad. 12th
Steven M Palazzo Miss 4th
palace Miss 4th
Because of redistribution, it’s not possible to play a one-on-one contest for every seat, but some new entrants closer to the far right were elected to seats previously held by Democrats or Republicans who voted to unseat Mr. Trump or to create the January 6 committee.
A look at some Republican newcomers
A table shows Republican newcomers to the House who denied the results of the 2020 election before being elected or supported by the House Freedom Fund.
|Newcomer||2020 election results rejected||Supported by freedom fund||To replace|
Monica de la Cruz
One of five new entrants to oppose Mr. McCarthy’s bid, Representative Anna Paulina Luna, took over a seat previously held by a Democrat, Charlie Crist, who ran against (and lost to) Ron DeSantis as governor of Florida. Ms. Luna has explicitly said the 2020 election has been stolen and has joined the House Freedom Caucus.
Representative Harriet Hageman of Wyoming, who has also denied the 2020 election results, defeated Representative Liz Cheney in the primary. Ms. Hageman was appointed by Mr. McCarthy to the House Select Subcommittee on the Federal Government’s Armaments, which will focus on finding evidence that the administration has silenced and punished conservatives.
Representative Andy Ogles of Tennessee, the member who yelled, “It’s your fault!” when Mr. Biden called for an end to the fentanyl crisis during the State of the Union address, he replaced Representative Jim Cooper, a Democrat who retired after redistributing the Democrats’ diluted power in the Nashville district. Mr Ogles also opposed Mr McCarthy’s bid as speaker and has explicitly said the 2020 election has been stolen.
Overall, more than a third of the 41 Republican newcomers explicitly denied the results of the 2020 election, were supported by the House Freedom Fund, or both.
A Venn diagram shows the Republican newcomers to the House who either denied the 2020 election results, were supported by the House Freedom Fund, or both.
About half a dozen political pundits who spoke to The Times said many members of the Republican caucus have learned the value of being hostile and refusing to compromise — a harbinger of even more chaos.
“Confrontation attracts attention and, you know, the attention economy has always been important to politicians,” said Richard H. Pildes, a professor at New York University’s School of Law. “But traditionally you had to go through a series of gatekeepers or mediators to get that kind of attention. The average Member of Parliament was not able to generate that kind of attention for themselves in a way that, of course, they can very easily now.”
In addition to attention, confrontation also appears to have financial incentives.
The internet has enabled a deluge of money from small donors, allowing politicians to raise large sums of money without relying on major donors or party funds, according to Pildes. Indeed, a Times investigation last year found that objecting to the 2020 Electoral College results was politically profitable.
“We’ve come to understand the role of more extremism and more outrage, generating more attention, generating more media attention, generating more small donor contributions,” said Mr. Pildes. “And I think that’s part of the story here.”