A close up of Steve Scalise's face.

Steve Scalise Has Even Less Support Than Kevin McCarthy Had

If watching the GOP fall apart and cannibalize itself is your new favorite fall show (seriously, can the SAG-AFTRA strike end soon?) I have good news: You’re not even at a mid-season finale yet.

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You may have heard that Louisiana congressman and current House Majority Leader Steve Scalise was going to win the nomination from the Republicans to be Speaker of the House, and yes, that is correct. However, he only won the votes of the people who want to vote down the party lines—not from the chaotic-evil super hard-right congress members, and, well, you know how that goes. (Spoilers: nowhere, because you typically need 217 votes to become Speaker of the House, and Scalise only got 113 votes to be the party nominee, vs. Jim Jordan’s 99.)

So what happens next for Scalise? Well, he has to succeed where McCarthy failed: He needs to get enough votes to become Speaker. In case you were wondering, no, the political landscape has not magically changed overnight. We are still where we were last week when McCarthy lost the Speakership, with 221 Republicans in the House, 212 Democrats, and 2 vacant seats. That means that Scalise needs all but 4 votes from the Republican party (since Democrats continue to remain unified behind their party’s pick, Hakeem Jeffries).

As a reminder, eight members of the Republican House voted against McCarthy. The math doesn’t math, here! Scalise has even less support, it would seem, than Kevin McCarthy did when he was elected Speaker of the House. Not looking good, Steve!

So what does the nomination of Scalise actually mean? Well, honestly, not a lot. All it means is that Jim Jordan, another awful Republican congressman, who ran against Scalise, won’t be nominated (probably) by one of the 214 Republicans who voted in the closed meeting to decide who would be the “official” nominee for Speaker of the House. I say “probably” because who knows? The House Republicans act like malevolent gremlins every time the Speaker of the House vote comes up. Remember how many times someone else got nominated by a Republican when McCarthy was trying to win, despite the Republicans having the majority of votes?!

Keep in mind that you don’t have to be a member of Congress in order to be elected Speaker of the House, so personally, I will be shocked if some waste of space doesn’t think they’re being cute and nominates former President Donald Trump for the job. In fact, this isn’t so far-fetched because someone with too much time on their hands has already promised to do just that. Per CBS News:

The far-right GOP Rep. Troy Nehls of Texas announced this week that he would nominate Trump to be speaker. The former president hasn’t ruled out the idea, and Trump received some placatory nominations in the speaker’s election in January. 

But the Republican conference’s rules for the 118th Congress suggest Trump could be ineligible to serve as speaker. At the beginning of the year, House Republicans adopted a set of rules including Rule 26, which says a member of leadership who has been indicted for a felony that could carry a sentence of two or more years in prison “shall” vacate their position. Trump faces 91 felony charges across his four criminal state and federal court cases. 

The article explains something you know in your heart already: the rules adopted by the House Republicans can easily be disregarded. They’re more of suggestions, really. I guess if you want to turn the next vote for Speaker of the House into a drinking game and ignore the fact it’s a national embarrassment, you could probably do a shot for each time Trump gets mentioned in the nominating process and subsequent vote. However, I digress.

Notice something about the number of people who voted between Scalise and Jordan!? It falls short of the magic 217 to be Speaker, and, well, the odds don’t look good. Per CNN:

GOP Rep. Thomas Massie told reporters he thought “there’s at least 20” members ready to not vote for Scalise on the floor. Several members from the key Freedom Caucus — including Reps. Lauren Boebert, Chip Roy, Bob Good, Barry Moore and Michael Cloud — have already publicly stated they are not yet ready to back Scalise on the floor. Boebert, even after meeting with Scalise, remained a no vote.

There’s something objectively hilarious about the entire Republican Party just trying to The Secret their way into a new Speaker of the House. No plan, no actual voting numbers, just raw vibes and a belief that they’re the right insurrectionist shitheads for the job. Somehow they think this will push them through the finish line and deliver the Speakership and everything will be hunky dory once more.

They’re so obsessed with their pursuit of power, that it’s like they never once stopped to think about actually governing. It’s kind of breathtaking in its short-sighted stupidity and the real takeaway here is that we (by that I mean everyone who isn’t a Republican in the House of Representatives) are probably too hard on ourselves.

No word on when the official vote to elect a new Speaker of the House will take place. Obviously, Scalise and his supporters are trying to drum up votes right now, and if I were them I’d be looking into Looney Toons-level diversions to get the eight members of the lunatic fringe to not attend the vote so he can win. However, the easiest solution to that would be to somehow bar cameras from the vote, and we all know that won’t happen. After all, if a Republican seizes power and Fox News wasn’t there to document it, did it really happen?

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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Image of Kate Hudson
Kate Hudson
Kate Hudson (no, not that one) has been writing about pop culture and reality TV in particular for six years, and is a Contributing Writer at The Mary Sue. With a deep and unwavering love of Twilight and Con Air, she absolutely understands her taste in pop culture is both wonderful and terrible at the same time. She is the co-host of the popular Bravo trivia podcast Bravo Replay, and her favorite Bravolebrity is Kate Chastain, and not because they have the same first name, but it helps.