The cautionary tale of Kevin McCarthy

On Tuesday, October 3rd, 2023, the American Government was rocked to its core by one landslide decision. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was voted out of office in an unprecedented vote of 216-210. While the unpopularity of McCarthy has been put on display ever since he was voted in, his removal was as surprising as it was expected. The biggest takeaway from the whole event was this is the first time a House Speaker had been ejected from their position. 

McCarthy was initially voted into the Speaker position under tense circumstances. McCarthy initially had to pander to the most conservative members of congress to secure his position. This led to a delicate balance between conceding to extremely conservative ideals, and more moderate ones, according to BBCNews.com. 

In late September, McCarthy worked with House Democrats to prevent a government shutdown which would harm the United States both politically and economically by crippling its ability to trade or make political decisions. This sparked outrage from Florida Republican Matt Gaetz, who, along with a myriad of other far right politicians, banded together to remove McCarthy from office. 

With a swift hand and an even swifter vote, Gaetz and other opposition Republicans voted to remove speaker McCarthy from office. With Democratic support, Gaetz got his wish and McCarthy was ousted from his position. This move was an extraordinary one, as never before has the speaker been voted out of office, much less by their own party, according to NPR.org. 

Immediately following this decision, the House erupted into disarray, caused by the sudden departure of the speaker. Following McCarthy’s absence, the duties of the speaker go to speaker Pro Tempore, a house member pre-selected by McCarthy, which happened to be North Carolina Republican Patrick McHenry. McHenry’s first action as speaker pro tempore was to declare the house in recess, according to CBSNews.com. 

This fiasco that has unfolded in Congress over the past few weeks has demonstrated the inability of Congress to stay unbiased and nonpartisan.  The political polarization of congress is not a new issue, as it has deep roots tied to the Post Civil War era. Near the end of the war, the Republican party was largely progressive, while southern Democrats were mostly conservative. However, after the war, many Northern Industrialists, rich from wartime profiteering, entered politics, according to StudentsofHistory.com. 

These Industrialists ignored the African Americans, who sought more rights after the Reconstruction Amendments gave them bare minimum rights. This continued till the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat, was elected in 1932. FDR was concerned with welfare and government assistance, which went against the freer market Republican party. This change, along with Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater opposing the Civil Rights Act, while Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson favored it, which led to the ideological switch in party politics, according to StudentsofHistory.com. 

This political switch led to a deep ideological divide that seeps into modern politics. It is a divide so deep; It causes Republican Gaetz to lead a small group of House Representatives to oust McCarthy simply for voting against a Republican bill to shut down the government. The party politics of today have become so rampant, they have led to the unprecedented event of the removal of a House Speaker. In 247 years of United States’ history, not once has a house speaker been removed, which shows the cowardly cling to party politics, rather than standing for unity and prosperity.  

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About the Contributor
Mica Apel, Opinion and Entertainment Writer
My name is Mica Apel and I am a senior this year. I am most excited to tackle hard-hitting topics with vigor and passion. One fun fact about me is that I have collaborated to make 2 short films, The PI and Mes Amies. 

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