‘Bombastic pot stirrers and insurrectionist enablers’ will run Congress if GOP wins midterms: analysis
Composite image of Rep. Matt Gaetz and Rep. Jim Jordan, photos by Gage Skidmore

Both election forecasters and history suggest it is likely that Republicans will win control of the House of Representatives -- but this scenario which could have devastating implications, according to a new analysis by a top congressional expert.

Political scientist Norman Ornstein, co-author of the 2016 It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism, had his analysis published by The Atlantic under the headline, "How Far Would a Republican Majority Go?"

Ornstein noted that in 2011, the new House Republican majority in Congress almost defaulted on the debt, which he noted "would have been catastrophic."

"As it was, the brinkmanship and delays had severe effects," Ornstein noted. "The Dow fell 2,000 points in the months that followed, and borrowing costs for the federal government increased by an estimated $18.9 billion over 10 years, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center."

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Ornstein looked at the number of election deniers that could potentially be in the majority party.

"When it comes to the House, FiveThirtyEight has found that so far, at minimum 117 House Republicans with at least a 95 percent chance of winning are full-blown election deniers or questioners, a good leading indicator of radicalism and a willingness to ignore facts and embrace fantasy," he wrote. "In turn, they are willing, if not eager, to blow up institutions and government itself to accomplish their goals."'

Ornstein argued the Freedom Caucus has "moved from the fringe to the center among House Republicans."

"The current members of the Freedom Caucus make up barely a fifth of all House Republicans, but they represent a rogues’ gallery of bombastic pot stirrers and insurrectionist enablers—people such as Scott Perry (R-PA), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), and Mo Brooks (R-AL)," Ornstein wrote. "In the 118th Congress, they will make up more of their party in the House," he wrote. "Their goals include impeaching Joe Biden, Merrick Garland, Alejandro Mayorkas, and more; investigating Hunter Biden, Anthony Fauci, and others; but also crippling the FBI and blocking further investigation or prosecution of Trump and his allies, stopping all future Biden policies, and likely fighting for a nationwide ban on abortions, repeal of the Affordable Care Act, tough immigration policies, and more."

He argued the most brutal way that Republicans could use the power of the purse is via the debt ceiling.

"What to do? One thing is clear. If the Republicans prevail in November, the lame-duck session becomes an opportunity to take this threat off the table once and for all. The way to do so is by making permanent, perhaps via reconciliation, the ironically named 'McConnell Rule.' The rule was raised by the Senate Republican leader a decade ago to allow the president to raise the debt ceiling," Ornstein explained. "It allows Congress to pass a joint resolution blocking the action, but contains a provision where the president is able to veto that resolution—meaning, in this instance, that a president would need only one-third of support plus one of the two houses of Congress to avoid default."

Read the full analysis.