How Would You React to a Coalition Majority in the House?

 

Now that Kevin McCarthy has dropped out of the running to be Speaker John Boehner’s replacement, and given the lack of any clear alternative (who actually wants the job?), some are floating the the idea of a coalition:

One crossover vote — from one member, in one election — does not a precedent make. But Representative Charlie Dent (R-PA) nonetheless told CNN minutes after McCarthy withdrew, to elect the next Speaker “we [may] have to assemble a bipartisan coalition, that’s the reality of this place.”

Moderate Republicans would join with Democrats to elect a speaker. It’s unprecedented in modern history in the House, but it’s happened at the state level before. (It happened in the New York State Senate a few years ago, and I’ve read that it happened in Texas, but I don’t know the details. I’m sure there are other examples).

There are currently 188 Democrats in the House. If they all voted together, it would only take 30 Republicans to get the 218 votes necessary to elect a speaker.

Improbable? Yes. But it’s been a very weird year.

Suppose that happened: If 30 or more moderate Republicans (possibly even members of the “establishment”) joined with the Democrats to form a coalition, what would your reaction be?

 

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  1. Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Whiskey Sam
    @WhiskeySam

    Burn it to the ground and [redacted] on the ashes.

    • #1
  2. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba
    @MJBubba

    Are the “moderate” Republicans so repulsed by the conservatives that they would rather caucus with Democrats ?

    Wow.

    We’re toast.

    Goodbye,  Western Civilization.

    Well, at least Ricochet will still be entertaining as the apocalypse looms.

    • #2
  3. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    “Well, I never heard it before,” said the Mock Turtle, “but it sounds uncommon nonsense.”

    • #3
  4. jetstream Inactive
    jetstream
    @jetstream

    Suppose that happened: 30 or more moderate Republicans (possibly even members of the “establishment”) joined with the Democrats to form a coalition

    I would not be surprised by that, but, it’s my opinion that action would guarantee a Trump landslide.

    • #4
  5. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    MJBubba:Are the “moderate” Republicans so repulsed by the conservatives that they would rather caucus with Democrats ?

    To be fair: It hasn’t happened yet and probably won’t.  But the uber-cynic in me can envision a coalition of statist Republicans (the “establishment”) and Democrats, neither wanting to cut anything, both happy to perpetuate massive government, both afraid of the “crazy” conservatives.

    • #5
  6. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    It would not shock me, if they did. The GOP Establishment has made it crystal clear that they’d rather lose to Democrats than win and share power with conservatives.

    I think if they did, Jeb and Rubio could kiss any hope of winning the nomination goodbye. If you think the base is furious with the establishment now, just watch what would happen if the squishes caucused with the Democrats. Any candidate, at any level of government, who was associated with the establishment would be toast.

    • #6
  7. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Fred Cole:

    MJBubba:Are the “moderate” Republicans so repulsed by the conservatives that they would rather caucus with Democrats ?

    To be fair: It hasn’t happened yet and probably won’t. But the uber-cynic in me can envision a coalition of statist Republicans (the “establishment”) and Democrats, neither wanting to cut anything, both happy to perpetuate massive government, both afraid of the “crazy” conservatives.

    It happened with the trade bill.  Why wouldn’t it happen here?

    • #7
  8. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    The Reticulator:

    Fred Cole:

    MJBubba:Are the “moderate” Republicans so repulsed by the conservatives that they would rather caucus with Democrats ?

    To be fair: It hasn’t happened yet and probably won’t. But the uber-cynic in me can envision a coalition of statist Republicans (the “establishment”) and Democrats, neither wanting to cut anything, both happy to perpetuate massive government, both afraid of the “crazy” conservatives.

    It happened with the trade bill. Why wouldn’t it happen here?

    Bipartisanship is one thing.  This is something else completely.

    • #8
  9. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Fred Cole:

    The Reticulator:

    Fred Cole:

    MJBubba:Are the “moderate” Republicans so repulsed by the conservatives that they would rather caucus with Democrats ?

    To be fair: It hasn’t happened yet and probably won’t. But the uber-cynic in me can envision a coalition of statist Republicans (the “establishment”) and Democrats, neither wanting to cut anything, both happy to perpetuate massive government, both afraid of the “crazy” conservatives.

    It happened with the trade bill. Why wouldn’t it happen here?

    Bipartisanship is one thing. This is something else completely.

    It was the same thing.  It’s the way to beat the conservatives.

    • #9
  10. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    The Reticulator: It was the same thing.  It’s the way to beat the conservatives.

    That means that they agree with some Democrats about one particular issue. That is not the same thing at all. Especially since free trade is traditionally actually a conservative issue. That doesn’t mean there aren’t legitimate questions about that particular bill — but it is not by a magnitude of difference the same thing.

    But you know who could prevent any such coalition? Conservatives, by supporting a conservative leader who could actually hold the moderates.

    Look, the moderates exist. They really do have actual voter support. They are not going away. And if you want to repeal Obamacare or get anything else done, you are going to have to do it in a way that keeps them on board. We don’t have to like that, but it is true. It is, unfortunately, basic math.

    And while we might not like the way leadership has been operating, anyone who has been paying attention to this leadership “contest” would surely have to equally admit that Boehner’s opponents have not exactly been conducting themselves in such a way as to bring people on board. We will end up with some candidate — maybe Ryan — who can win the majority of the caucus. But if too large a handful won’t go along with that majority candidate, the result will be a coalition. And that means a less conservative candidate.

    • #10
  11. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Fred Cole: How Would You React To a Coalition Majority in the House?

    Armed revolution.

    • #11
  12. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Why not just put a scorpion in your pajamas.

    • #12
  13. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    How would I react? I’d welcome it, I guess, since it would mean the end of the Republican party. I’m sure the ‘stabs would rather party with the Dems than their base, but even Boehner has to know that’d be a singularity.

    • #13
  14. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Barfly:How would I react? I’d welcome it, I guess, since it would mean the end of the Republican party. I’m sure the ‘stabs would rather party with the Dems than their base, but even Boehner has to know that’d be a singularity.

    I was just reading about the 1852 election when General Apathy was the strongest contender, because people couldn’t tell the Whigs from the Democrats.

    • #14
  15. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Leigh: Look, the moderates exist. They really do have actual voter support. They are not going away. And if you want to repeal Obamacare or get anything else done, you are going to have to do it in a way that keeps them on board. We don’t have to like that, but it is true. It is, unfortunately, basic math.

    The question is whether it would be worth the trouble.

    • #15
  16. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    The Reticulator:

    Leigh: Look, the moderates exist…

    The question is whether it would be worth the trouble.

    Repealing Obamacare is worth the trouble. I don’t mean the Arlen Specter “moderates.” I mean the ones who would vote for Boehner with Democratic support out of sheer desperation.

    There are evidently about 30-40 conservatives who made specific demands on McCarthy and are essentially trying to dictate to the caucus because they realize they can block things — but they are not actually working in a way to bring the party around to their agenda, and conservative change is not accomplished that way. It is not clear to me at all that they are really operating on conservative principle and the effect of their strategy is to push leadership left. If they won’t compromise an inch with the GOP moderates, leadership ends up compromising with Democrats even when they don’t want to. And then that core goes home and tells their base they’re fighting –even though the practical result is worse policy.

    Ryan will face the same situation. But I think if he runs he says: “Here I am; I will do this on my terms and not sign away any power or pledge any policy — you know where I stand anyway.” And if they won’t take that, they will get a less conservative speaker than Ryan — not Chaffetz or Jordan. And that will be on them, not on moderates.

    • #16
  17. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    Two questions:

    1. Do the “Moderates” understand that joining with Democrats to screw the base will incinerate the party?
    2. Do they even care?
    • #17
  18. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    Well, I would be extremely annoyed.

    • #18
  19. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Carey J.:Two questions:

    1. Do the “Moderates” understand that joining with Democrats to screw the base will incinerate the party?
    2. Do they even care?

    You will see what they care about when they get all petulant and pouty about conservatives (bomb throwers, etc.) who don’t have enough loyalty to vote for the presidential candidate anointed by the donor class.

    • #19
  20. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    I say the first thing we do is primary Charlie.

    • #20
  21. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    There are no moderate  Democrats left.   To join with the Demos is to join with the hard left.  A coalition with Demos would get them,  in their own districts, primary challenge from the right,  and if they survived that,  a loss to the Democrat in the general election.  There is nothing in it for them.

    • #21
  22. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    That kind of acting is bold, although wrongheaded, so it is difficult to imagine these so-called moderates choosing that path.

    • #22
  23. Robert McReynolds Inactive
    Robert McReynolds
    @RobertMcReynolds

    I would wonder if the refusal to accept there being an “Establishment” would cease. On the other hand, this would be the chance to see if the American People really want compromise and bipartisanship as we are always told. As I have said countless times here on Ricochet, it is telling that the GOP Establishment/Leadership is more willing to fight Conservatives than they are Leftists. I hope you ‘Stab (I like that and I am stealing it) deniers wake up and smell the deceit.

    • #23
  24. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Leigh: Look, the moderates exist. They really do have actual voter support. They are not going away. And if you want to repeal Obamacare or get anything else done, you are going to have to do it in a way that keeps them on board. We don’t have to like that, but it is true. It is, unfortunately, basic math.

    Pot, kettle.  Conservatives exist, and this year, we are proving it.

    • #24
  25. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Leigh: Repealing Obamacare is worth the trouble.

    Was defunding it?

    • #25
  26. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    The only way a Speaker can be elected without any Republican votes is if a large enough number of Republicans are absent, allowing a “majority present and voting” to be formed entirely of Democrats.   This means that the Speakership is entirely in the control of the GOP.

    Obviously there are ways to game this, but any R who votes for a D or for an R that a majority of Ds support should be banished, or shunned, or given demerits until he says he is sorry.  Apparently that makes things all better.

    • #26
  27. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Frank Soto:

    Fred Cole: How Would You React To a Coalition Majority in the House?

    Armed revolution.

    Really? Because that is exactly how debt ceiling increases have been passed. Did I miss the revolution?

    • #27
  28. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Fred, I think we already have a coalition government.

    I think events of the past few days are finally bringing to light that there are 3 parties in the House. To date the conservatives and republicans have been a coalition, but that alliance seems strained.

    • #28
  29. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    Ball Diamond Ball:

    Leigh: Look, the moderates exist…

    Pot, kettle. Conservatives exist, and this year, we are proving it.

    By supporting Donald Trump. The movement is proving its anger this year, not its conservatism. But yes, I absolutely agree that it cuts both ways and that leadership has failed to win conservatives’ confidence. Therefore Boehner is out and McCarthy is out. It’s on those conservatives now to act in a way to pull the caucus together if they want to oppose Obama effectively. If they won’t unite behind any speaker who can also win the moderates, they are undercutting themselves.

    Ball Diamond Ball:

    Leigh: Repealing Obamacare is worth the trouble.

    Was defunding it?

    If that had been anything other than a sham. That was not going to happen. The Constitution does not provide for a way for Congress to unilaterally block a previously-instituted law. We may wish the Constitution specified that the power of the purse meant Congress couldn’t make spending automatic and tie future Congresses — but it doesn’t.

    Here’s the end game: I am a conservative. We may disagree on a few policies here and there, but in the long game we are on the same side on the vast majority of issues. And when conservatives like me are held up as the enemy (I don’t mean this in any personal sense on Ricochet, but on a thousand talk radio segments and conservative blogs) it destroys conservative effectiveness.

    (cont.)

    • #29
  30. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    And yes, obviously that’s even more true of the John McCains of the world, not to mention the Bill Bollings and Arlen Specters. But that’s a whole separate discussion well covered elsewhere.

    It’s both misguided and dangerously counterproductive when conservatives treat Paul Ryan and even Kevin McCarthy as if they were on the same plane as the McCains and Specters and Bollings. When someone is written out of the movement because they’re wrong on a few issues, or because they’ve compromised on one issue to win another, or — most relevant — because they disagree with you on strategy.

    In short, conservatives need to remember that you win in democratic politics through the art of coalition-building. And as a conservative who wants to see conservative wins, it troubles me that conservatives are doing so badly at coalition-building right now. We can’t necessarily turn the moderates into conservatives. We can, if we function effectively, outmaneuver them (having a candidate before you launch a revolt helps) and co-opt them by smart policy strategy. This isn’t the way to do it. This is the way for a handful of congressmen to get applause back home.

    • #30

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