The extremist wing of the Republican Party begins to devour itself
The January 6, 2021 anarchists will control the agenda in the lower chamber, with two years to go before the general elections. So buckle up, there’s more turbulence ahead
Republicans in the House of Representatives are embroiled in an internal fight for leadership of this body, as Kevin McCarthy, Congressman from California and a lieutenant of Donald Trump, does not seem to be sufficiently extreme for the MAGA crowd. This, even though McCarthy is salivating to use his partisan majority after January 3 to go after their opponents, manufacture conspiracies, and advance an extremist agenda that was already rejected by voters in the midterm elections this past November 8.
Any resemblance to an autocratic attitude is mere coincidence. But threatening opponents in advance is not the practice of a democracy; in fact, as a starting point for exercising liberties, it is the diametrical opposite of civilized behavior. But if we add to that the fact that there are even worse plans and proposals than those of McCarthy and his minions, the extent of the damage the rioters wanted to do in the 2021 coup starts to make sense.
Various media outlets are reporting that McCarthy still doesn’t have the 218 votes he requires to become the leader of the House, because the most recalcitrant group prefers a more radical figure to direct their agenda. Andy Biggs, a radical Republican from Arizona—yes, the very same one who called the people charged with assaulting the Capital “victims” of “Soviet-style” justice—indicates that he will seek the speakership if McCarthy cannot collect 218 votes in the first round.
This confrontation between dangerous radicals seems like a Republican political catastrophe, for while one of the two factions will fail, it’s apparent that nothing will make them compromise about the type of country they want to design from here on out, which has nothing to do with this United States that has opted for a diversity, sustained by democracy.
Basically, despite the fact that voters in the midterm elections sent a resounding message in rejection of extremism and candidates supported by Trump (except in Florida), legislators loyal to the former president continue to be the ones directing the orchestra in the lower chamber. And that does not augur well for migrants, women and minorities in the country. In reality, it isn’t good for anyone, since an agenda of extremism and paralysis contributes nothing to this country’s progress.
In fact, we are already seeing and feeling, with the thousands of lives caught in a migratory limbo that continues ad infinitum—as in the case of the Dreamers and people with TPS who, despite having demonstrated in spades that they are an essential part of the U.S. economy and society, are simply ignored and erased by that anti-immigrant and racist wing that hopes to re-enter the political scene in January and do its thing.
Essentially, nothing good can be expected if figures like Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Republican Congresswoman from Georgia, a Trump favorite and promoter of white nationalist conspiracy theories, are the ones controlling the Republican Party.
Last weekend, Taylor Greene joked about those who accuse her of being involved in the planning of the attempted coup on January 6, 2021, saying that if she had been involved, it would have been an armed assault.
“If [Trump advisor] Steve Bannon and I had organized [the assault on the Capital], we would have won. Not to mention, we would’ve been armed,” Taylor Green declared, according to various press reports. Later she tried to clarify that she was being “sarcastic,” although MAGA Republicans have shown that “sarcasm” can have serious, real-world consequences, resulting in death on more than one occasion.
Essentially, the level of Trumpist cynicism that awaits us will be more than unprecedented because, emboldened by the support they have received from that segment of the U.S. electorate that resists accepting a reality that has already took place, long ago, the Republicans will unleash the worst kind of Anglo-Saxon arrogance in the political realm ahead of the 2024 elections.
But there are two things developing in the midst of the House Republicans’ chaotic struggle for power. In the Senate there is a bipartisan group discussing a proposal to benefit certain migrants, particularly the Dreamers, before the year comes to an end and the Republicans assume control of the House of Representatives on January 3. One of the figures leading the talks is Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema, who was re-elected as a Democrat and just announced that from here on out she will vote as an Independent. That is not a guarantee of achieving something concrete either, as she made that decision immediately after the victory of Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia and with the goal of destabilizing the majority the Democrats won in that legislative body.
On the other hand, the committee investigating the January 6, 2021 assault on the Capital is preparing for its final meeting this coming week, when it’s expected to formulate recommendations to the Department of Justice about the filing of charges against those involved.
However, being realistic, both matters face an uphill climb no matter what happens. In the case of the migration plan, if a Christmas miracle takes place, it would only be viable if approved by both chambers of Congress before ending this year and is signed by President Biden. There are only a couple of weeks left, and if not for an act of supreme political will, it’s unknown what other instance would make them vote, once and for all, to fix the situation for thousands of migrant families who have not come to malign the United States, but to win a place in it through their arduous effort, made over years.
Because from January on, anything that confers migration benefits will not pass through the extremists’ sieve.
And in the case of the January 6, 2021 anarchists, they are the ones who will control the agenda in the lower chamber, with two years to go before the general elections. So buckle up, there’s more turbulence ahead.
Maribel Hastings is an executive advisor for America's Voice and David Torres is a Spanish-language media advisor for America's Voice.