(NewsNation) — NewsNation political editor Chris Stirewalt weighed in on Friday on Republican U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s grueling, hard-fought struggle to become speaker of the new Congress.
McCarthy flipped several colleagues to support him Friday for House speaker, a major sign of progress for the embattled leader on the fourth day and 13th ballot of a grueling standoff that was testing American democracy and the GOP majority’s ability to govern.
“What happened here is what happens when you have a conference that can’t talk amongst itself,” Stirewalt said of the “Never Kevin” and “Only Kevin” groups who dug in, creating an impasse.
Stirewalt said we have known for months, if not years, that it would come down to something like this, “because of the strong feelings against McCarthy” inside the ultraconservative Freedom Caucus.
The stunning turnaround in votes came after McCarthy agreed to many of his detractors’ demands.
“So what McCarthy is trading away is the ability to keep order and enforce order inside his conference once he becomes speaker,” Stirewalt said. “Because the Republicans majority — they only have a five-seat majority — that means that they will relive this experience each time.”
Stirewalt said one thing the Freedom Caucus may have forgotten is that by lowering the threshold and making it easier for minority groups to break away … those votes could come from moderate Republicans later on who side with Democrats.
“So, the net effect here may not be that the Freedom Caucus has more power,” he said. “It may be that there are more apostate Republicans going with Democrats on stuff as we go through this year. It’s going to be wild.”
Watch the full interview with political editor Chris Stirewalt in the video player at the top of the page.