The headlines were shocking; the blowback severe. What began as an ordinary House Speaker bid by Rep. Jordan of Ohio suddenly spiraled out of control last night, leaving the GOP in disarray and no clear path forward.
Jordan, a hard-right conservative with a history of bucking the establishment, shocked the Republican party when he suddenly announced his candidacy. The party had expected Rep. McCarthy of California to be the uncontested Speaker; Jordan’s bid amounted to a full-blown rebellion.
The Republican civil war was officially underway.
Many on the right had long held animosity towards McCarthy and the GOP establishment. Jordan’s candidacy evoked cheers from those quarters and opened a flood of support for his speaker bid. In the days that followed, conservatives rushed to back Jordan ahead of the crucial vote.
It seemed that a shock upset was in the making — until it all came crashing down.
Rumblings of discontent soon began to emerge, as moderates in the party started to talk openly about a unified front against Jordan’s hard-right agenda. Other factions, such as the Freedom Caucus, began to form an opposing camp. This set the stage for an epic showdown of loyalists vs. dissidents, with the warring factions airing their grievances in public forums.
As the battle lines deepened, momentum seemed to swing back and forth between each side. But ultimately, despite a valiant effort, Rep. Jordan was unable to garner the critical mass of support needed to win the Speaker office. In a stunning move, Jordan pulled his nomination at the 11th hour, leaving McCarthy the victor.
Jordan’s implosion signals a stark reminder to the Republican party — that the old guard of establishment elitism still reigns supreme. Though there are many in the party hoping for a new future of limited government, smaller bureaucracy, and genuine reform, last night’s events suggest that we are far from those goals. The GOP civil war continues on.