Right now all of the attention is on the 3 Stooges pie fight for control of the GOP caucus, and for good reason. Right now, the MSNBC House projection has the GOP with a razor thin 221-214 edge. For our purposes, we’ll just go with that.

But it takes 218 votes to pass anything in the House, including confirming a new Speaker. Witch gives McCarthy a blue gillette margin of 3 votes he can afford to lose. The problem for McCarthy is that as it sits right now, the numbers just don’t add up for him. And he has an extra complication to worry about.

McCarthy has to serve 2 masters. First is the Trombie base, led by The Georgia Goebbels, Laborious MTG. She has already calculated him as a power craven coward, and has held him up for almost unlimited power and endless investigations. Then there’s the ridiculous Tea Party caucus to deal with. They already consider McCarthy a traitor-to-the-cause because of how he rolled over on them in 2016 in return for tummy skritchings from Traitor Tot. At last count, there 4 hard NO votes in that caucus, enough to sink McCarthy. How do you deal with them without pissing off MTG? This should be fun to watch.

But here’s McCarthy’s Achilles Heel, and the Democrats golden opportunity. His caucus also contains a 20-25 member moderate GOP caucus. They were mostly elected or reelected from moderate suburban swing districts. Unlike the Trumplets and Teabaggers, these members are not ideologically driven. Their voters sent them to congress to get results, not spend 2 years fussing over Hunter Biden’s laptop, or whether Tony Blinken mousses his hair before he meets the French President. And right now they’re keeping their cards close to their vests. But they’re dangerous because McCarthy can only afford to lose 3 of them, and they’re not all going to want the same thing.

Let’s just say that McCarthy gets to play Speaker, for our discussion, it doesn’t really matter who the Speaker is. The normal protocol for moving a bill through the House isn’t complicated. The bill is submitted and laid to the floor. The Speaker accepts the bill, and assigns it to the proper committee for debate, markup, and a vote. If/when it comes back to the floor, it is called to the floor for debate and a vote. But here’s why the party in the minority gets so little done. It’s the Speaker who decided which bills to call to the floor, and in what order. Just see McConnell in the Senate with Obama’s judicial nominations to see what I mean.

But here’s the thing. According to House rules, anybody can actually try to call a bill to the floor for a vote. It’s called Submission by Petition, or some other pompous title. And the process isn’t complicated. Any member can lay a petition on the floor to bring a bill to a floor vote. The petition is time stamped, and placed on a desk. And then there are a certain number of days where any member can go up and sign the petition. If the petition has 218 or more votes by the time the time limit expires, then it must be brought to the floor for a vote in a timely manner. The reason you almost never see it used is that the party holding the gavel almost always has a large enough majority to make any such attempt futile.

But not this time, not for the next 2 years. Because of that 20-25 member moderate GOP caucus. They are not driven by an extreme ideology on either side, they’re more attuned to their constituents by necessity. The suckas can vote them out. And several of these GOP moderates are returning to congress in January after having been defeated in 2018 or 2020. And their voters made it clear, Bring back results.

Which gives the Democrats their opening. If the Democrats in the House can craft legislation that is popular with Democratic voters, but also something that will play well in moderate swing districts, oh, I don’t know, say capping insulin costs at $35 a month, they can go through the House process, and when McCarthy wipes his ass with it, put up the petition, with a little targeted advertising from the DNC, DCCC, or affiliated Super PAC’s to put pressure on those targeted legislators. Remember, it only takes 4 of them, and they’re not beholden or committed to the other 2 faction.

The same thing, if I read the rule correctly, can also apply to a bill passed by the Democratic Senate. If McCarthy sits on the bill(s), a Democrat can craft a petition, circulate it in the Democratic caucus, get 214 votes, and then submit it to the floor to see if they can 4 moderate GOP members to nibble.

I’ll be real here, Full Disclosure. As I cast my mind back, I can only recall a couple of times in the last 20 years that this was tried, both times by the Democrats. Both times they lost, but both times were before the era of Trump, the GOP majorities were larger, and the GOP was more united. It’s that 20-25 member moderate caucus that makes this possible, especially with the extreme radicalization of the main GOP. Remember, you don’t need all 20-25 to sign on. If the Democrats are united, and they had damn well better be, because any defections will scare off the GOP moderates, you’re only talking about picking off 4 votes. And you’re talking about 20-25 members, each individual, each with individual agendas based on their districts. Wadda we got to lose?

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  1. Rep Don Bacon (R-NE) claimed in an interview that the moderate rethug group in the House numbers around 90. If that’s true, it’s possible they could be able to cobble together some kind of coalition w/ the Dems. The biggest hurdle is who to support as Speaker.

    I don’t actually think McCarthy will be speaker, but finally deciding on who will, will be a clusterf*ck. It’s on the sane rethugs to get their ducks in a row and have a plan and an agreement w/ the Dems to save themselves and us.

    • Thank you Tuckedd!!! That news is popcorn for my soul…In the article I simply used the number of rehires or new representatives that were reported from MODERATE swing districts, I didn’t research any self professed moderates…

  2. Let’s say Kevie does not get the votes to be Speaker. I’m figuring whoever runs to the right of Kevie isn’t going to get them either. Is it possible for a democrat to win the Speakership when they are in the minority? The 36 members in those swing districts might just go for that, or at least some might depending on which person is running. Nancy is out so there might be more palatable candidates.

    • It’s the same routine as everything else, the Speaker is decided by a vote of the entire assembly, I’m not sure they even have to be a member of the majority party. With enough R support it could be the Ds that select the speaker.

      • No, the nominee does NOT have to be a current member of the House…This is why there was far right squeals of a jumbo GOP majority in the House making Trump Speaker…Good luck with that…

    • Last week I wrote an article about the possibility of a coalition Speaker who would most likely be a moderate, established former GOP representative that Democrats could nominate that could get enough moderate GOP votes to move legislation fairly and not be a dick…

    • I actually would not be 100% gobsmacked if the acceptable speaker WAS a Dem. It would be funny but he should decline so that the Repubs can really screw things up and people WANT to throw them all out in 24.

  3. Thak you Murph! I figured the GOP moderates, few though they may be, should be able to turn this clown show around, I just didn’t know the mechanism.


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