Kevin McCarthy's fate will be 'a fitting culmination of his years-long campaign of self-humiliation': conservative
Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks to the media following a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House in November 2022. (

Kevin McCarthy may yet survive his challenge for becoming House speaker, a title he's coveted for years, but conservative Charlie Sykes said he may never recover from his political wounds.

The right-wing flank of the House Republican caucus is demanding more power to hold over the next speaker's head, and McCarthy and anyone else who wins Tuesday's vote will hold a weak grip over a thin majority whose "vicious infighting" has spilled into public view since the midterm elections, Sykes wrote in his latest column for The Bulwark.

"Today was supposed to be the GOP’s celebration of the Red Wave, a moment of triumph and anticipation," Sykes wrote. "Instead, we are likely to get a sh*tshow for the ages from an unruly, dysfunctional political party that is obviously not all that interested in governing."

McCarthy seems likely to fall short of the 218 votes he needs on the first ballot, sending the vote to multiple ballots for the first time in a century, and he faces two less-than-appealing options.

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"By the end of what promises to be a very long day Kevin McCarthy will either (1) be narrowly elected with the votes of fabulist and accused felon George Santos, conspiracist MTG, and a handful of dissidents who hate his guts, or (2) he’s going to have to move his stuff out of the Speaker’s Office a day after prematurely moving it in," Sykes wrote. "So, it will be a fitting culmination of McCarthy’s years-long campaign of self-humiliation."

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich to warn that "chaos" was likely to ensue if McCarthy didn't make the cut, but Sykes thinks the damage has already been done.

"It’s chaos either way, isn’t it?" Sykes wrote. "McCarthy is a hollow man and a weak leader, and his caucus is now in the process of testing just how weak he is. One of the most powerful speakers in House history is about to be replaced by one of the puniest."