History has been made once again on American ground. For the first time, on Oct. 3, 2023, a house speaker was voted out by the House of Representatives. Despite the overwhelming effort to gain 210 votes, Kevin McCarthy fell to 216 voters who were no longer confident in his judgment. All 208 Democrats remained unanimous and combined forces with 8 Republicans to aid their mission.
McCarthy’s removal was blamed on his inability to acknowledge the need for a government shutdown. Some considered him delusional because of his views on the COVID-19 shutdowns, and also because of his confidence in not being voted out.
The bigger question here does not lie within the government shutdown. Rather, it lies in the American federal system that allows the removal of the house speaker.
“On an international scale, it sends a message to the world that the United States cannot govern itself,” said Dr. Sandy Hulme, Arthur L. Russell Professor of Political Science.
The decision to fire McCarthy has a complicated edge to it that shows the party politics rooted deep within the government.
The question of firing McCarthy is often assumed to be a result of his ignorance towards the government shutdown, but that is just part of the reason. The decision to remove the house speaker can be considered a controversy of some sort where there was frustration among many people with whom McCarthy made a deal. The deal was with Democrats regarding the debt ceiling in which concessions were made by both sides to reach an agreement.
However, the more radical people of the government wanted to renegotiate that agreement. “McCarthy had made commitments to Joe Biden that he was then being forced to go back on and that is what precipitated this whole mess,” said Hulme.
It is very clear that the government is facing serious repercussions from within the country and outside of it, too. These bring a grave threat to the federal system. Moreover, after a controversial secret ballot between Jim Jordan and Steve Scalise, Scalise withdrew his name from his candidacy.
The House of Republicans have hence elected Jim Jordan as their official candidate for House Speaker, but he only won with 152 votes. This means there were 55 votes against him, by his own party members.
All that the American citizens can do is wait for the official meeting to select the House Speaker with a majority of 217 votes.