Republicans are currently on track to end up with 214 seats in the House of Representatives in January. As of this writing, they’ve already netted seven gains, are leading in an additional nine races, and will pick up one more with two Republicans in a runoff for Louisiana’s 5th District.
If it all holds, it would amount to an astonishing 17-seat gain for the GOP and the Democrats holding the smallest House majority in two decades. Cook Political Report predicted Democrats would expand their 232-seat majority by 10 to 15.
The reality is a resounding success for President Trump, whose historic performance in South Florida with Hispanics flipped two seats, and continued appeal in the Rust Belt helped knock off 30-year incumbent Democrat and House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson in Minnesota’s 7th District. It’s a resounding success for Trumpism, as candidates like Yvette Herrell and Nancy Mace embraced the President and his agenda, scoring upset wins New Mexico’s 2nd District and South Carolina’s 1st District. It’s a resounding success for Republican women, who will send at least 13 new members to the House.
It was also a resounding failure for progressivism. Democrats in Oklahoma and New Mexico unsuccessfully attempted to distance themselves from Joe Biden’s plan to destroy the oil and gas industry. The President’s drumbeat on socialism won Florida. Representative Abigail Spanberger summed it up in her now-infamous remarks on a private caucus call shortly after Election Day.
‘We need to not ever use the words “socialist” or “socialism” ever again,’ Spanberger said in a heated exchange. ‘Because while people think it doesn’t matter, it does matter. And we lost good members because of that.’
The problem for Spanberger is her party’s ideology, not its marketing.
Joe Biden believes the Green New Deal is a ‘crucial framework’ for meeting climate challenges, which should come as no surprise after tapping Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to co-chair his climate task force. Biden’s embrace of a ‘public option’ is ultimately an embrace of single-payer healthcare. Biden supports ‘redirecting’ funding away from police. Ocasio-Cortez has praised his purported Chief of Staff selection as a ‘unifying pick’.
For Democrats to be truly honest, America deserves Speaker AOC. House Republicans should hand her the gavel.
The House Speaker is elected at the start of every new Congress by a simple majority of the Representatives-elect, meaning 218 votes in the 435-member body. As noted, the GOP stands to have 214 seats come January. Ocasio-Cortez’s Squad will have five with the addition of Cori Bush of Missouri’s 1st District. Ten if you count all successful candidates backed by Justice Democrats. The votes are there to be had.
Ocasio-Cortez is in open war with her party and hasn’t committed to supporting Pelosi for the job, while Justice Democrats have taken direct aim at Pelosi’s failed leadership. Few politicians since Washington have voluntarily refused power and rebuffing Republican overtures would mean passing on the chance to go from bartender to House Speaker in a mere four years. As Speaker, she would achieve in that short timespan what Bernie Sanders has sought for four decades in public office — actual congressional votes on socialist ideas.
The downside is, with perhaps only Pelosi as the exception, modern Speakers rarely stick around long and rarely end on a high note. However, Ocasio-Cortez has signaled such a risk may be of no concern, as she’s supposedly unsure about remaining in politics at all. It may not be likely she accepts, but it’s also no guarantee she declines. And if she does, what criticism could be worse than ‘Republicans are Nazis?’
For the GOP, Speaker AOC would mean any remaining ‘moderate’ Democrats in swing districts would be forced to go on record supporting socialism. No longer would Speaker Pelosi be providing them a shield to lie. Ultimately, that’s what Spanberger’s ire is really about – that Ocasio-Cortez says the quiet part out loud. Notice she criticizes the use of the word ‘socialism’, not her party’s actual embrace of the toxic ideology.
Speaker AOC means that embrace would be undeniable. The Trump GOP’s historic gains among Hispanic voters — many of which are either immigrants themselves or descendants of immigrants from Cuba and Venezuela who know too well the deadly cost of socialism — would be accelerated.
This Faustian bargain would require a unified House GOP, a rare occurrence by modern historical standards. Ultimately, the party could splinter and make the suggestion moot. However, the party’s ideological makeup is more unified than ever under President Trump’s leadership and influence. If the stars happened to align and 218 votes are there for the taking, the GOP should do it. Reap the rewards in 2022 and beyond.