GOP selects new House leaders while Democrats gird for a fight

  • 15 November 2018
  • NormanL

House Republicans chose their new leadership team Wednesday, picking Rep. Kevin McCarthy to be the next minority leader, Steve Scalice as minority whip and Liz Cheney as conference chair. McCarthy's convincing win over Rep. Jim Jordan should put an end to the internal sniping over who gets to steer the GOP ship -- the answer, as it has been for the last two years, is the president. 

McCarthy and Trump have a close bond, which will serve both men and their party well as Democrats prepare to take control. Whether Democrats will be able to settle their own internal spat over who is in charge is an open question. With many incoming House freshman on record opposing Nancy Pelosi's return to the speakership, and a challenger for the speaker's gavel on the horizon, Democrats may have a very divisive leadership fight on their hands. We will watch with some interest from the sidelines. Not over who is chosen -- whichever Democrat is elected speaker will be a dedicated liberal. We will be watching those freshman who campaigned on their opposition to Pelosi and their calls for new leadership.

Those were strong promises to make (and repeat) on the campaign trail. In some races, such promises may even have swayed votes. But most campaign promises don't last long in the DC swamp, and Pelosi was aggressive in spreading campaign cash to those new members. How and who those new members choose as speaker will tell us a lot about what we can expect in the next two years. Their choice will also become an issue in their 2020 re-election bids. Watch what they do closely -- we most certainly will.