Questions about the successor to former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) have gained renewed urgency in the midst of a growing conflict between Israel and Hamas terrorists. This heightened chaos surrounding the GOP’s ouster of McCarthy at such a critical juncture could have far-reaching implications, particularly in crucial swing states such as New York.
“Having a Speakership sitting vacant at the moment is obviously not good,” noted Tom Doherty, a New York-based GOP strategist, told The Hill, “It doesn’t serve us or our foreign partners any good not to have a Speaker of the House.”
Speaker Vacancy Impacts Aid to Israel
This unprecedented vacancy in the Speakership comes at a time when Israel is reeling from a surprise attack by Hamas, designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. As of Monday afternoon, casualties in Israel and Gaza have risen to over 900 and 500 respectively due to the ongoing conflict.
The absence of a Speaker creates uncertainty in terms of providing emergency aid to Israel. It also raises questions about whether acting Speaker Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) will receive classified briefings on the escalating situation.
Political Fallout and Impacts on Competitive Districts
House Republicans are planning to convene again to discuss the way forward regarding the Speakership vacancy. The Democrats, on the other hand, are seizing the opportunity to criticize the GOP, blaming their intraparty chaos for the uncertainty surrounding aid to Israel.
The conflict has elicited strong reactions from both sides of the aisle, with lawmakers from both parties strongly condemning Hamas and its attack on Israel. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) affirmed U.S. support for Israel, while McCarthy emphasized the need for a comprehensive plan to address the escalating situation.
Meanwhile, the situation is causing ripples in New York, home to a significant Jewish population. The crisis may influence the political landscape, with some Republicans claiming the unfolding war could be a political opportunity.
Uncertainty and its Impact on Elections
The lack of resolution in the House presents challenges for the party. Republicans might face mounting criticism if the Speaker position remains vacant for an extended period, particularly in the midst of existing infighting within the party.
“If I am [Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-N.Y.)], if I am Lawler, any of these suburban, Biden-district, New York, California Republicans, my job just got a lot harder, because once again I am having to defend dysfunction,” noted a Democratic strategist.
In this time of crisis, as political chaos looms, the nation watches closely to see how the United States and its political parties respond to the escalating conflict and its implications on the domestic and international stage.
Georgia Gilholy is a journalist based in the United Kingdom who has been published in Newsweek, The Times of Israel, and the Spectator. Gilholy writes about international politics, culture, and education.