Home » House GOP struggles to be even more MAGA but somehow win elections

House GOP struggles to be even more MAGA but somehow win elections

Stung by all those stories about how much they didn’t do last year, House Republicans are looking ahead to 2024 with trepidation and the realization that their razor-thin majority is on the line, The Washington Post reports. They recognize that they need to start governing after last year’s abysmal performance, but at the same time remain loyal to their MAGA roots—and Donald Trump. It’s early days, but it seems clear that they’re not going to succeed in accomplishing both things.

“We have to start governing. … Playing politics with every single issue is not helpful” swing-district Rep. David G. Valadao of California—one of the Biden 17—told the Post for this story. “We need to get to the point where we can start passing legislation and getting something to the president’s desk that actually solves problems for the American people.”

Meanwhile, the first serious order of business for the House to kick off this session is beginning baseless impeachment hearings for Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. They are also preparing to hold Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress in that all-important Biden impeachment inquiry, seemingly the top priority for House Republicans since every House Republican—including Valadao—voted to move forward with it. That’s not exactly governing.

It doesn’t help the cause of governing, of passing legislation and getting bills signed into law by President Joe Biden, when they’re picking these very political fights. It also doesn’t help when the entirety of the House GOP leadership has endorsed Donald Trump even before voting begins in the 2024 primaries.

It doesn’t help governing to have the chair of the House Republican Conference, the fourth-ranking House Republican, parroting Trump on national television and defending his Nazi rhetoric, but that’s exactly what Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York did on Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” 

Stefanik called the arrested Jan, 6 insurrectionists “hostages,” just like Trump did. She refused to commit to certifying the results of the 2024 election, and she defended Trump’s Hitleresque claim that migrants are “poisoning the blood” of America. “Our border crisis is poisoning Americans through fentanyl … so yes, I stand by President Trump,” Stefanik told host Kristen Welker. Pressed to answer if that meant she stood by Trump’s words, Stefanik said “yes,” then said Trump has the “strongest record when it comes to supporting the Jewish people.”

That’s Republican leadership, but there are still rank-and-file “moderates” telling the Post they “believe their chances of keeping the House rely on reelecting swing-district incumbents and other conservatives willing to compromise.” Because those conservatives have been so willing to compromise so far.

They’re right about one thing: Keeping the House would be easier if they abandoned MAGA politics and compromised. Recent polling from the Post demonstrates that the majority of voters won’t be amenable, for example, to the idea that the convicted Jan. 6 insurrectionists are “hostages” since 50% of Americans view the Jan. 6 crowd as “mostly violent.”

To win in 2024, House Republicans—especially swing-district incumbents—need something to hang their hats on that isn’t MAGA. So far they’ve done nothing to show they’ll be able to accomplish that.


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January 2024