House minority leader Kevin McCarthy would have a messy task on his hands if he takes over as the Republican majority leader.
The GOP has been on a "constant churn of self-radicalization" that has cost them congressional majorities in the Donald Trump era, but they could impose minority rule through restrictive voting laws and partisan gerrymandering that could allow the most extreme elements in their party to rise to the top, reported CNN.
"Years of gerrymandering by both parties have produced a House in which there are few competitive seats and in which members are driven to extremes to avoid primary challenges by more radical foes," reported CNN political analyst Stephen Collinson. "While the Democratic Party's radicalization tends to push it toward a more progressive democracy, the same process in the GOP has turned the party of Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln against democracy itself. That fact threatens to deny the country the healthy two-party system that has long been a hallmark of its superpower strength."
McCarthy would face major difficulties in leading an increasingly extreme GOP caucus should Republicans retake the majority -- and some right-wing members are already challenging his leadership.
"If McCarthy fulfills his dream of becoming speaker, his riotous conference might make the struggles of ex-GOP Speakers John Boehner and Paul Ryan to control their radical wings look tame by comparison," Collinson wrote.
"Neither man had to deal with someone like freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who said McCarthy was 'a failure' on Wednesday despite his constant appeasement of Trump," he continued. "Angry that the California Republican hasn't stripped Republicans who voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill of their committee assignments, Greene warned that McCarthy isn't a shoo-in for the speakership by saying Trump's opinion is going to 'matter big' in who gets the gavel if the GOP wins. The sharp rebuke was a sign that McCarthy must constantly appease the vast Trump wing of his party to secure his own political ambitions -- a factor that saw him quickly visit Mar-a-Lago this year in a bid to walk back his previous criticism of Trump over the insurrection."
Trump still holds an iron grip on the party, which could hurt McCarthy's chances of becoming the majority leader.
"Scenes of a Trump-led Republican revolution, which is already threatening party members who reject the GOP's ever more extreme dogmas, are all the more extraordinary since that kind of extremism could up alienating some general election voters in more competitive districts," Collinson wrote. "It's only been a few weeks since Republicans were parsing the victory of Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin in Virginia as a sign that keeping Trump-style extremism at arm's length could help the GOP win back critical suburban voters."
This week's outbursts have also drowned out an effective midterm election message that McCarthy was pushing for months about Biden's presidency failing -- on the economy, on the pandemic, on the border and abroad," he added.