Could Democrats intervene to save the Republicans in Congress?

Mikie Sherrill

The US House of Representatives adjourned after Republican Kevin McCarthy failed to secure enough votes for speaker after six ballots, but a Blue Dog Democrat from New Jersey is suggesting that the GOP could be saved from itself by its political adversaries.

House Democrats might be willing to support a moderate GOP alternative for Speaker if Kevin McCarthy remains unable to win enough votes from his own caucus, according to New Jersey’s Blue Dog Democrat Rep. Mikie Sherrill.

Sherrill said she could be receptive to a proposal “generated from the Republican Party” —an indication that a deal would need to originate from the other camp, but that is hardly a surprise. The Democratic establishment—of which Sherrill is a part—rarely takes initiative.

“They have to understand what they’re willing to do to have Democrats come over. To just sort of go to Kevin McCarthy and say, look, we’re happy to vote for you – he’s already given up this store to the right wing,” Sherrill told David Wildstein, a New Jersey political gossip blogger. “So why would we make him Speaker when he’s already agreed to sort of the list of demands from the right?”

Wildstein, a combative Republican political operative who pleaded guilty to two felony counts and testified against two other conspirators after they orchestrated traffic lane closures on the George Washington Bridge to punish a Fort Lee Democrat who refused to endorse Governor Chris Christie’s re-election, founded one blog with the help of Ken Kurson, a criminal who was pardoned by President Donald Trump in 2021, and another with the financial support of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

One might suspect that Sherrill would be perfectly comfortable in the Republican Party today, like any other Blue Dog, but the most visible fascist elements drive away such so-called “centrists” like her, Sen. Joe Manchin, and others. Of course, calling Wall Street-backed quasi-Republican Blue Dogs “moderate” or “centrist” is like

Sherrill could be instrumental in electing a Republican speaker if she can figure a way to explain that move to pro-choice Democratic women who have helped finance her campaigns. For now, it appears she is waiting for the GOP to take the lead.

Democrats helped elect Jason Stephens, a vaguely mainstream conservative, Republican Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, denying it to vicious MAGA extremist Derek Merrin, who won the leadership vote in the very far-right GOP caucus last month and was expected to waltz into the speakership with his fully fascist agenda

As a result of the November election, the Republicans increased their majority by three seats for the 2023-24 legislative session but the organizational session of the Ohio House marked the beginning of the 135th General Assembly

Stephens was elected speaker of the Ohio House in an unexpected 54-43 victory over Toledo-area state Rep. Derek Merrin, who had been considered the speaker-elect since a House Republicans’ caucus vote in November.

All 32 House Democrats voted for Stephens along with 22 moderate Republicans, while all of Merrin’s 43 votes came from GOP representatives. The move prevented Merrin from moving the House even farther to the right than the GOP-dominated chamber has been in recent years, with such extreme measures as a near-total abortion ban, an anti-union “right-to-work” bill, a proposal to phase out Ohio’s income tax, and a “backpack bill” that would expand school vouchers.

Only eight other times in U.S. history has it taken more than three rounds to choose a speaker of the US House of Representatives.

According to the House of Representatives, there have been 127 speaker elections since 1789. In the modern era, a nominee needs a majority of the House members voting — 218 if all 435 are present — to become speaker. Members of Congress cannot be sworn in until there’s a speaker.

Prior to this week’s votes, 14 speaker elections required multiple ballots, with 13 of those occurring before the Civil War. The only time in the post-Civil War era was in 1923, when it took nine tries.

Six of those 14 elections were decided on the second or third ballot, but others took more than that — with the longest election finally ending after nearly two months and 133 ballots.

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