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The year in which ‘Trumpism’ put the Republican Party and the US House of Representatives in check

The mid-term elections of November 2022 left a Lower House in which the hard Republican wing wins the majorities

After McCarthy’s historic expulsion from the front of the room, Mike Johnson took over as speaker and advocates for Trump’s policies

2023 will be remembered as the year in which ‘Trumpism’, the hard wing of the Republican Party, put not only the political formation itself in check, but also the House of Representatives, one of the main institutions of the United States and whose president is considered the third authority in the country.

The year began with the Republicans savoring the honeys of a notable success achieved in the midterm elections of the previous November, in which they managed to wrest the majority from the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives, the Lower House of the US Congress.

This victory left a very favorable outlook for the conservatives, since the legislative body, with great power in American politics, remained in their hands and they also had the possibility of erecting one of their own as the highest authority in the room, a position nothing negligible.

The House of Representatives elects its president through a roll-call vote among the candidates proposed by the parties present in the room. In a political system divided between the Republican and Democratic blocs, conservatives should have no problem keeping the seat.

However, the Republican Party is certainly divided since the emergence of Donald Trump in 2016. The magnate won the presidential election that year and during his four years in office he carried out ultra-right policies that were rejected by his own people. and strangers.

After his defeat in 2020 against the current president, Joe Biden, Trump encouraged the ghosts of alleged electoral fraud against him, a narrative that culminated in the assault on the Capitol on January 6, 2021. These facts have been defended by his allies closer, but repudiated by many other Republican politicians.

The shadow of former President Trump is long, and this is palpable in the composition of the Republican caucus in the House of Representatives, where around a dozen of the party’s 222 legislators have shown themselves to be supporters of the magnate and have defended him tooth and nail. their positions.

It is precisely this hard wing of the Republicans that has put their own party and the House of Representatives in check, as they are essential to guarantee the conservative majority in each and every vote, including that of the president of the American Lower House.

US representatives met at the beginning of the year, as early as January 3, to appoint Democrat Nancy Pelosi’s successor as head of the House. The Republicans agreed that Kevin McCarthy, representative of the state of California, would be their candidate.

However, McCarthy’s positions did not convince the hardline Republican wing, who rejected his candidacy up to fifteen times, delaying the process until January 7, when he finally took the speaker’s position after making key concessions to those legislators. more extremist.

During his term, McCarthy had to face the possible financial closure of the Government, although in the end the Republicans always ended up agreeing to new budgets; and also for the continued economic aid to Ukraine, immersed in war since February 2022.

However, at the end of September, one of those projects to finance the Biden Government ended up blowing up the House of Representatives after the Democratic Party opposed it en bloc – due to the cuts included in the proposal – and about twenty of Republicans did the same.

After this, the president of the House presented a new project that was approved, but with the support of the Democrats, which did not sit particularly well within the Republican Party, and motivated Matt Gaetz, one of those legislators related to the ‘Trumpism’, will present a motion of censure.

Days later, on October 3, the court approved McCarthy’s dismissal with a vote in favor of the Democrats and eight colleagues from his own party, members of that most extreme faction, who accused him of facilitating Biden’s policies instead. of the conservative postulates of the Republican Party.

McCarthy, who just ten months earlier had abandoned the leadership of his party in the Lower House to preside over the chamber, was forced to leave office, becoming the first president in the history of the United States House of Representatives to be impeached. .

Throughout the following months, McCarthy continued to occupy his seat as representative for California’s 20th district, although in early November he announced that he would leave his position on January 1, ending almost 16 years of political career at the federal level. .

McCarthy’s departure evidenced the power of the hardline Republican wing within his party. The most extreme right-wing legislators were able to ally themselves with the Democratic Party in order to unseat a ‘speaker’ who was not entirely to their liking, even though he was one of their own.

The Republican Party was once again forced to present a candidate who would obtain the majority of legislators from its own party to occupy the seat of the president of the room, all this not only with the shadow of McCarthy, but also with the memory of how complicated that it was necessary to obtain the necessary votes.

In this context, an attempt was made to make way for Ohio representative Jim Jordan, who had ultra-conservative positions but who failed in repeated attempts to preside over the room. After more than 20 days of institutional blockade due to the absence of the figure of the ‘speaker’, Congressman for Louisiana Mike Johnson took a step forward.

These votes in the House were held while former President Trump took the opportunity to incite his followers with messages on Truth Social, his private social network. There he even went so far as to “suggest” Republican representatives to vote for Johnson.

“My strong suggestion is to choose the main candidate Mike Johnson. And do it quickly,” Trump said on his social networks just a few hours before a fifth vote that ended up being definitive for Johnson, who finally managed to unite the Republican Party around his figure, including the ‘Trumpist’ representatives.

Johnson stands out, in addition to his sympathy for Trump, for an ultra-conservative ideology of a marked religious nature. The new ‘speaker’ opposes not only gay marriage and the LGBT community, but also defends the criminalization of abortion and advocates imposing prison sentences.

Since his inauguration as the country’s third highest authority, Johnson has opposed providing more weapons and funds to Ukraine, or at least not at any price. While Biden has committed to more aid for kyiv, Johnson has put obstacles in place and has assured that Washington does not have more money.

In addition to the situation in Ukraine, the immigration issue is another of Johnson’s star issues, which demands that Biden reactivate the measures promoted by Trump to guarantee security in the territorial limits with Mexico, alluding especially to the construction of a wall in border.

Thus, the House of Representatives, which started the year in the hands of Pelosi, a historic politician of the Democratic Party, has been left over time in the hands of the most conservative hard wing of the Republican Party, to the point that now ‘ speaker’ advocates Trump’s return to the White House in 2024.

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