Our 2020 book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses the state of the parties. The state of the GOP is not good.
INSIDE VS. OUTSIDE — The speakership race between Reps. STEVE SCALISE and JIM JORDAN is turning into a test of two very different strategies.
Scalise is running the way successful speakers always have: by focusing assiduously on the inside game of member-to-member lobbying. In Scalise world, the way to win next week’s secret ballot election is to break down the conference into granular Scalise-friendly factions that he can cobble together into a majority.
Scalise is the second-most-prolific GOP fundraiser after KEVIN McCARTHY, and his team is making sure the recipients of his largesse remember that. He’s a former whip in a chamber where serving on a whip team is a bonding experience. He’s a southerner in a party that is dominated by that region of the country. He’s targeting colleagues who sit with him on the Energy and Commerce Committee. He’s counting on committee chairmen who are close to leadership and wary of Jordan’s Freedom Caucus roots. And despite the fact that he once led the Republican Study Committee, the jovial Scalise is wooing moderates freaked out by the idea of making Jordan the face of their party.
There are lots of ways that members bond that defy the typical GOP categories, and you hear a lot about these relationships from Scalise world. “@SteveScalise and I were elected to Congress together through special elections and became close friends,” Rep. ROB WITTMAN of Virginia said on X last night. “I am proud to support him for Speaker of the House.”
It’s not that Jordan doesn’t have similar pockets in the House to target. He does. He’ll do well with most of the nine other Republicans in the Ohio delegation, with the MAGA right, with Judiciary Committee colleagues who will want to support their chair, with some McCarthy allies who had beef with Scalise.
But Jordan is running much more of an outside game, trying to leverage the modern conservative media world and its best-known influencers to pressure Republicans to back him. And early this morning, he won the backing of the ultimate GOP outsider: DONALD TRUMP.