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Kevin McCarthy lost the first procedural vote. It now seems almost certain that he’ll lose the real vote and be ousted from the Speakership. Then the House Clerk will reveal a letter in which McCarthy placed a list of names of people who could serve as Speaker pro tem if McCarthy could no longer serve. The first name on that list will almost certainly be a loyalist.

So we’ll have McCarthy ousted but almost certainly still determined to reclaim the chair. The temporary Speaker will be one of his loyalists. It’s unclear whether that new temporary Speaker will have to start holding elections for a new Speaker literally immediately or whether he has a bit of flexibility. That person will almost certainly make that choice in the interests of McCarthy regaining the Speakership.

Watching these speeches though you get a strong, strong sense that the overwhelming majority of Republicans not only don’t support this but are really pissed about it. I’m certainly not the audience for these speeches. But the Gaetz group’s speeches don’t seem terribly persuasive even in a Republican context – at least not to fellow members of Congress. The members speaking up for McCarthy span the whole ideological range of the caucus. Each speech basically amounts to “I wanted this cool thing but didn’t get it”. It’s Kevin McCarthy’s fault that he couldn’t get every Republican to support the Good/Bigg/Gaetz line.

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