This week, the House of Representatives voted 11 times in a vain effort to elect its next speaker. In fact, as I write this, no person has secured enough member votes to become speaker, so we may be on vote 137 by the time this piece is published.
At the moment, U.S. Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has already moved into the speaker’s office. He has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump and Republican National Committee Chairman Ronna Romney McDaniel. But he has yet to win.
Whether or not you support McCarthy, Trump, or McDaniel, it’s become painfully obvious that a profound disconnect exists between the swamp-dwelling GOP and the rest of America.
In my travels in person as well as my reach online, it is hard to find anyone at all who supports either McCarthy or McDaniel. So why are they still being touted as the leaders of the GOP? Polls even show that neither has the support of the base, yet they continue to keep their positions. Why?
It all boils down to an overinflated and unjustified ego that seemingly comes with leadership in Washington, D.C.
Ronna McDaniel in an interview with Newsmax this week said that polls showing that a majority of Republican voters wanted to see her replaced were caused by a “disinformation campaign.” How could it possibly be that the GOP doesn’t support the leader of the organization that has lost multiple election cycles in a row, allowing Joe Biden to push inflationary policies? It must be fake, says McDaniel. I’m sure she shares the sentiment with McCarthy who, after supporting record spending of Americans’ money that doesn’t include defending our own southern border, believes he should still be in charge.
Washington, D.C. and Capitol Hill in particular are their own worlds, much different from the rest of America. Political influence, social media numbers, and mentions in the news are afforded exponentially more importance there than anywhere else in this country—and it’s created a strange vacuum filled with self-importance and disconnected from the Americans who sent those people to the place.
It’s easy to forget that you’re an employee of the residents of your district or state when you’re constantly being schmoozed at cocktail parties by lobbyists and by reporters who, in some instances, find your opinion valuable for the first time in your life. A congressman’s staff—if they’re any good—won’t always agree with their boss. But in many cases, they simply become yes men, which contributes to his already-inflated ego. His campaign staff, especially in a solidly red or blue district where he will never lose his seat, won’t tell him to change, either. Why should he? He keeps getting elected, after all.
On Capitol Hill, even the interns who fetch coffee and give tours of the Capitol grounds can easily catch this disease. They brag about who they got to meet or who knows their names. They stop recognizing that they have an opportunity to help, and spend much of their time attempting to advance themselves.
Breaking out of the vacuous bubble of specious attention seekers and suck-ups in D.C. is nearly impossible. Your own thoughts, no matter how divergent from American public opinion they may be, become Gospel. This is why McCarthy preemptively moved into the speaker’s office on Tuesday. It’s why McDaniel blames “disinformation” for her unpopularity. And it’s why Trump endorsed all of the above.
It’s time for a change. It’s time for politicians, especially in the GOP, to start paying attention to their voting base again. The alternative is losing, not only over the next two years, but the in 2024 presidential election as well.