McCarthy’s embarrassing victory in speaker election not the end of mess in Washington: analysts
Published: Jan 08, 2023 12:21 AM
Kevin McCarthy Photo:VCG

Kevin McCarthy Photo:VCG

The US House of Representatives has finally elected Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy as the new speaker early Saturday morning after a historic and embarrassing deadlock and 15 rounds of voting that kept the lower chamber from being fully functional for days after the new Congress convened.

Chinese analysts said this proves that the power struggle in Washington is not only between the Democrats and the Republicans, but also among the politicians from the same party, and those American politicians with extreme political stance are becoming increasingly willing to hijack the interests of the whole party and are able to force the majority or the pro-establishment elites to compromise on almost any issue.

This will create more uncertainty in Washington into the future, because there is no strong and reliable political leader, neither US President Joe Biden nor former president Donald Trump or new Speaker McCarthy are able to completely unite their own party or to speak with one voice. In the future, the US internal governance will still be a mess and fail to effectively solve economic and social problems, and its foreign policy may swerve into more chaotic and dangerous areas, experts claimed.

According to CNBC, in a tense showdown on the House floor in the middle of the 14th failed vote at around 11 pm local time Friday, McCarthy personally confronted Republican Representatives Matt Gaetz of Florida and Lauren Boebert of Colorado.

Despite making numerous concessions to win support from the pair and other far right Republicans over the course of the week, they still refused to pledge outright support to McCarthy. They, instead, joined four other Republicans in the 15th and final vote by voting "present," which helped him clinch the gavel by reducing the number of votes he needed to get to a majority. He won with 216 out of 428 possible votes, according to the report.

Some observers had contended that far-right politicians supported by Trump who won seats in the House in the midterm election 2022 will follow Trump's marching orders, but the course of events showed that even after Trump openly expressed support for McCarthy on Wednesday after three rounds of failed votes, those Republicans still refused to listen to Trump, drawing the whole embarrassing process out to a 15th rounds of voting.

Lü Xiang, an expert on US studies and a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Saturday that "this proves the serious divergence is not only between the two parties, but also within each party. Those few Republicans, who are actually minority in the party, have proved that they are able to hijack the majority. Against the greater good for the whole party, these politicians prefer to maximize their own political power. This is not just a problem of McCarthy or some specific politicians, but a systematical problem at the heart of US democracy."

"Although Democrats are laughing at Republicans on this historic embarrassment, if Democrats won the House last year and faced the same situation that the Republicans are facing now, Democrats would likely be just as disunited as the Republicans currently are. The far-left within Democrats would also try their best to force the pro-establishment to meet their demands as well," Lü said

Some analysts said this problem will become a part of the 2024 presidential election cycle. More and more US politicians that have ambition to run the campaign will be encouraged as they find there is no absolute leader who can fully unite his or her own bloc. Legislation and issues related to budgets in the House will face an even steeper uphill battle, and there is no hope for Washington to effectively solve any problems.

"Maybe it's too early to predict how the current situation will affect the 2024 presidential election, but it's certain that the McCarthy's embarrassing victory is not the end of the mess in Washington," Diao Daming, an expert on US studies and associate professor at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times on Saturday.

The polarization within US politics makes the power comparison between the two parties in the Congress very tight with Republicans having only a small margin for error, so this makes those extreme minority get important as they can be the "key minority now," and then this will caused "fragmentization" within the two parties, Diao said.

Extreme figures will continue to be extreme, and it's certain that Republicans will try their best to block anything proposed by Democrats and to make trouble for the Biden administration, and they will also launch a "witch-hunt" against Biden and his son as an act of revenge for what the Democrats did to Trump, analysts said.

On foreign affairs, the poisonous political atmosphere will make the US act more unpredictably and dangerously, some experts claimed. According to CNN, McCarthy said the new House of Representatives wants the US to win the economic competition with China, referring to the country as the "Chinese Community Party."

In his first remarks as speaker early Saturday morning, McCarthy said, "We'll also address America's long-term challenges, the debt and the rise of the Chinese communist party."

He noted that "As for the Chinese communist party, we will create a bipartisan select committee on China to investigate how to bring back the hundreds of thousands of jobs that went to China, and then we will win this economic competition," CNN reported.

Lü said there is a dangerous trend which shows that US political elites have been poisoned by an anti-China sentiment built on one-sided, unreliable, and overwhelmingly negative information about China. "This could make the US carry out risky moves."

US politicians like McCarthy might believe that China is fragile due to the epidemic, and it's time to launch more aggressive actions to challenge China in the fields like Taiwan question and even increase support to incite so-called color revolutions within China, Lü noted. "In fact, China's internal situation is totally under control and the country is much more united than the US, so if the US makes wrong decision based on wrong judgement, then those radical and ignorant senior politicians will make their country pay high price," he said.