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America – When Compromise Turns into Treason

In 1856, Nathaniel Banks took two months and 133 votes. The 39-year-old abolitionist from Massachusetts had to assert himself against several pro-slavery candidates.

When the members of the first chamber of the US Congress elect a new president from among themselves after the opening session this Tuesday, it will not last as long as it did in 1856. It will be a challenge for Kevin McCarthy, whose pursuit of America’s third-highest political office behind Democrat Nancy Pelosi has thrown everything into the balance in recent weeks. McCarthy’s Republicans have just four votes in the 435-seat House of Representatives after losing the midterms after an expected red wave — and a group of influential party friends is not committed to any scenario. Vote for the 57-year-old MP from California.

To gain support in his own party, McCarthy, said to be quick and flexible to adapt his opinion to the situation, has in recent weeks rubbed political shoulders with conspiracy theorists and election deniers. Over the weekend, the longtime leader of the Republican Party took another step towards his opponents, who are mainly on the right of the party. McCarthy promised members of the Freedom Caucus around Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert and Matt Gaetz more influence in various groups and an easier removal of the speaker they sought. However, he could not convince his opponents. Gaetz announced he did not intend to vote for the Californian shortly after the compromise prospect was made public, according to CNN. This means that it cannot be ruled out that only one ballot will take place on Tuesday. Many congressmen are already expecting the new House of Representatives to be marked by tactical maneuvering, heated exchanges in the aisles and a search for new compromise candidates.

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“Only interested in the show”

But even if McCarthy succeeds in unifying his party in the race for speaker, the bitter struggle of the past few weeks should be a glimpse of what will be in everyday political life in America over the next two years. Despite the fact that several candidates championed by Donald Trump did not make it to the House of Representatives in the midterm elections, the weight within the Republican Party has shifted toward the far right. Harron has committed himself to the former US president’s “Make America Great Again” creed, and sees any compromise as a betrayal of his own cause.

“There are a lot of legislators right now who are all about the political agenda,” said outgoing Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth, who chaired the New York Times budget committee for the past several years. “The next two years are going to be very painful for the country.”

Many in Washington expect that right-wing hardliners will primarily aim to make life as difficult as possible for President Joe Biden, as Republicans can only pass some of their bills because of the Democratic majority in the Senate. It’s not just about setting up investigative committees into Biden’s son Hunter’s Ukraine deals or funding important policy projects. McCarthy has also signaled that he will not back away from using debt ceiling negotiations, which are usually needed for political leverage. The temporary suspension of government business, the so-called shutdown, may turn from an exception to a constant accompaniment over the next two years.

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