OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Top Democrat Rep. Jamie Raskin believes that former President Donald Trump could be the next Speaker of the House.
“Democrats still have a shot here, although Republicans have the edge in taking the House. What do Americans need to be prepared for what the next two years looks like?” “Face The Nation” host Margaret Brennan said.
“Well, first of all, don’t count us out, the way we were counted out from the very beginning in this election,” the representative said.
“They were saying the Republicans were going to pick up 40, 50, 60 seats But the party of democracy and freedom and progress for the people held. And so we’ve had a very impressive election. And we’re going to continue to fight for social progress. And we’re going to fight for the political rights of the people, which means against gerrymandering, against voter suppression tactics, against manipulative use of the filibuster and the Electoral College to thwart the will of the majority.
“So, we’re going to continue to fight for a strong democracy program,” he said.
The conversation changed to what Republican Minority Leader and California Rep. Kevin McCarthy has to do if he wants to be Speaker and Brennan said that he would have to get the representatives who support Trump to vote for him.
“Well, it’s a real problem for Kevin McCarthy now, because there are certain pro-Trumpists within his House caucus who refuse to accept that he’s really with Trump, and they want to get rid of McCarthy. And some of them, they have names very early in the alphabet, like Biggs. And they might just vote for Trump when they, you know, take the roll call for speaker,” the representative said.
“So we know that the — the hard-right Freedom Caucus people are in search of another candidate. And one potential candidate whose name has been floated is Donald Trump himself, because the speaker of the House does not have to be a member of the House. And they are talking about putting Trump right there,” he said.
“That’s not a real option, though,” the host said.
“Well, they talk about it repeatedly,” the representative said. “And if Trump decided he wanted to do it, it would pose a profound problem for their party, because they refused to do the right thing early on. I mean, today, it seems like the spell has been broken. It’s begun to dissolve. We don’t have Republicans around the country claiming that they really won when it’s been certified that they lost their elections.
“And yet there is still this big lie dogma, which, as you say, has been embraced by 150 members within their caucus. And so that is going to create profound cognitive and political dissonance within the GOP. Is it really Trump’s party? Or does it stand for something else?” he said.
McCarthy could have issues as the House Freedom Caucus has threatened to withhold its votes unless he gives them some concessions, the Washington Examiner reported. That has prompted one Republican Representative, Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego, of suggesting that Rep. McCarthy speak to Democrats and attempt to get some of their votes.
“Just cut a deal with the Dems Kevin. Whatever you get from Freedom Caucus will not be worth it. The odds will be good but the goods will be odd,” he said.
Just cut a deal with the Dems Kevin. Whatever you get from Freedom Caucus will not be worth it. The odds will be good but the goods will be odd. https://t.co/CZDWY1yyfO
— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) November 10, 2022
With the Freedom Caucus having played a key role in pushing former Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to step down and demanding changes to the motion to vacate the chair to ease the process of ousting a sitting speaker, one Democratic member argued that a McCarthy speakership may have more staying power if he doesn’t strike a deal with his conservative critics.
“If he asks, [it could be a possibility]. Either you can be speaker for two years and go cash out on Wall Street or be speaker for three months and get pushed out by the Freedom Caucus,” one lawmaker said, adding that the specific demands that could be made that would be palatable enough to get the Democrats on board are “above my pay grade, but that is what I would do.”
The member added that they believe McCarthy is “so vapid and desperate for power” they could likely extract a lot out of the California Republican.
“Won’t know that until the dust settles, the margin is determined, and how badly McCarthy needs some Dem support. Anything is possible,” another Congressperson said. “Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, not in speakership races.”
One progressive Congressmember said that a deal with Rep. McCarthy could be possible if the alternative was a more extreme Republican as Speaker.
“I doubt it, but I guess if the alternative is [Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA)], could be possible. I think it’d be more about the alternative than anything he could give,” the member said.
But another Democrat did not like the idea.
“Under no circumstances would just about any Dem ever vote for someone who has downplayed Jan. 6. I’m one of the most bipartisan people in the place, and the thought of supporting him makes me laugh. It’s an insane proposition to consider supporting someone like him. I would never do that. No Dem with principles and a belief in democracy would ever do that,” they said.
But the wackiest theory, and one that could happen, is Rep. Liz Cheney, who will no longer be a member of Congress in 2023, could be Speaker if Democrats joined a handful of Republicans to elect her. A Speaker does not need to be a member of Congress which means that Rep. Cheney, or anyone, is eligible to be Speaker if they have the votes.
The Congressmember said there have been private conversations about “voting for [Rep.] Liz [Cheney] and getting a hearty group of both sides to vote for her as a rebuke of Trumpism in a scenario where Kevin couldn’t get the votes. I would classify them as serious in intent to put forth a principled option with the goal of bringing people together but not serious in that I can’t imagine that getting to 218.”