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Analysis: House of Representatives tumultuous rotation of candidates

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Boston Public Library | Flickr

After nearly three weeks of intra-party dispute, the chaos in the House of Representatives subsided with the election of Mike Johnson, a low-profile Republican from Louisiana, as Speaker. Although restoring leadership to the House is undoubtedly necessary, Johnson’s affiliations are more problematic than helpful.

Following the ousting of Kevin McCarthy, the House of Representatives was left without a leader. With pressing matters such as the impending government shutdown deadline and foreign aid disputes, electing a speaker had been at the top of the agenda.

Before electing Johnson, the House cycled through three candidates, each with their shortcomings adding to the turmoil.

The first nominee was Majority Leader Steve Scalise, who withdrew his candidacy shortly after winning the nomination. Scalise’s abrupt and hasty withdrawal signaled the beginning of a divide within the party.

Ohio Representative Jim Jordan was selected as the second nominee. According to CBS News, Jordan co-founded Freedom Caucus, a group of far-right lawmakers and an avid defender of former President Donald Trump. Unfortunately, the first round of voting was unsuccessful for Jordan as he fell short by almost 20 votes.

The Ohio lawmaker’s involvement with the right-wing still wasn’t enough to win the election, as he ran two more times and failed to get sufficient support, eventually withdrawing his candidacy.

Following Jordan’s loss, the Republican party met again and decided on Tom Emmer, Minnesota’s Representative. Emmer was the most moderate of the candidates, voting to prevent discrimination against same-sex couples and refusing to object to certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory.

Emmer would’ve been a suitable candidate to promote bipartisan policymaking and gain the support of moderate Republicans, who are unwilling to vote for conservative candidates like Jordan.

Although Emmer’s nomination was promising, what held him back was Trump’s lack of support. The Hill reported that before the vote, Trump wrote on the social media platform, Truth Social that Emmer “never respected the Power of a Trump Endorsement, or the breadth and scope of MAGA — MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” Trump added that voting for Emmer would be a “tragic mistake.”

Following Trump’s commentary, Emmer’s support waned, and he dropped his candidacy.

Finally, the party nominated Mike Johnson, who won the Speakership in a vote of 220 to 209, earning the support of all GOP lawmakers present.

A new member to Congress and unfamiliar to many, what little is known of Johnson should be concerning to everyone who doesn’t identify with conservative politics.

As a self-proclaimed Evangelical Christian, Johnson regularly allows his belief system to dictate his political views. In fact, many claim that the new Speaker is the most conservative candidate that the House has ever seen.

According to Politico, Johnson openly holds a strong stance against abortion. He currently co-sponsors at least three bills aimed at prohibiting abortions nationwide once a fetal heartbeat has been detected, which is usually around six weeks.

Additionally, he consistently works to shut down abortion clinics and ban abortion pills. The new Speaker has also proposed the imprisonment of doctors who perform abortions and blamed the rise in school shootings on abortion access.

Furthermore, Johnson is passionately against LGBTQIA+ rights. According to Vanity Fair, he claimed that homosexuality “is the dark harbinger of chaos and sexual anarchy that could doom even the strongest republic.”

Johnson has openly opposed the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage, voted against the bill to codify same-sex marriage in Congress and co-sponsored a bill criminalizing gender-affirming care to anyone under 18, despite such care recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The Speaker has several other viewpoints that don’t align with the opinions of the majority of the modern population, including his denial of the importance of separation of church and state, promoting mandatory prayer in public schools and his questioning of the science behind climate change.

Johnson has been among the leaders in the movement to deny the 2020 election and defend Trump.

In the end, what seems like a win in a three-week battle for Speakership is a major loss for everyone other than the conservative right. As Johnson’s views cater only to his party and fail to align with those of the American population, the House of Representatives continues to stray further away from its original purpose – representing the views and voices of the people.

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Alina Sluzhyvenkova, Opinions Editor
Alina Sluzhyvenkova is the Opinions Editor for The Ticker.
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