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U.S. House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) reacts to the cheers of his Republican colleagues.

Reuters

What We’re Watching: Capitol Hill chaos, Putin’s biceps, Myanmar’s ‘vote’

The House speaker fiasco: Day 2

Another day, another letdown for Kevin McCarthy. For a second consecutive day, the Republican stalwart again failed to clinch enough votes from his own caucus to become House speaker, one of the most powerful jobs in US government. After six rounds of voting over two days – and a late-night team huddle on Wednesday in which McCarthy said he was willing to make significant concessions – 20 anti-establishment Republicans still refused to cast their ballot for McCarthy. Though they have some different demands, the broad consensus is that McCarthy is a creature of the swamp, slavish to special interests. What’s more, former President Donald Trump reportedly called on the group of detractors – a ragtag of his most ardent devotees – to “knock it off.” But the group shows no signs of backing down – for now – going so far as to say that Trump should have instead called on McCarthy to withdraw. Resolving the stalemate could still take days or weeks, and whoever prevails will emerge a weak leader with limited ability to control an unruly caucus. The last few days, however, have been a boon for President Joe Biden and the Democrats. Even Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican of the QAnon variety, has distanced herself from some far-right members of the GOP by supporting McCarthy’s bid. She said on Wednesday that the current House speaker fiasco “makes the Republican Party look totally inadequate and not prepared to run the country.”

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House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Reuters

Rinse, repeat: Republicans fail to agree on the House speaker

Traditionally, the first day of a newly elected Congress is filled with pomp and circumstance. Children wearing little suits and frilly dresses accompany their parents to the House floor where a new class of lawmakers is sworn in.

But the first day of the 118th Congress was not very joyous for one man in particular: Kevin McCarthy. In an embarrassing series of events, the leader of the House GOP failed to secure a majority of votes – 218 – needed to become House speaker. After three rounds of voting, 20 Republican holdouts still refused to budge, backing candidates not named McCarthy for the role. What’s more, McCarthy actually shed a vote in subsequent ballots.

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GZERO Media

Exclusive Maru/GZERO poll: Tired of fighting, slim majority of Americans back divided government

Many pundits in the US have long declared the age of political bipartisanship dead. And in the age of QAnon, “lock her up,” and “defund the police,” it’s easy to see how they might have reached such a conclusion.

Still, as divided government returns to Washington – with the GOP now in control of the House of Representatives – it appears that the constant mudslinging between Democrats and Republicans is not necessarily appealing to American voters.

An exclusive new poll conducted by Maru Public Opinion and GZERO Media found that a narrow majority of Americans – both Republicans and Democrats – think divided government is better for the country. Of the randomly selected 1,517 American adults polled (estimated margin of error of +/- 2.5%), 51% said they prefer split government, meaning that both parties control one chamber of Congress each, or that control of the legislative and executive branches is split between the GOP and Dems.

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Dems & GOP Both Thankful for Midterm Surprises | US Politics In :60 | GZERO Media

US Dems and GOP can be thankful this Thanksgiving

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, DC shares his perspective on US politics in a Thanksgiving edition.


What are Republicans and Democrats thankful for this holiday season?

Democrats are thankful for three Republicans named Mehmet Oz, Don Bolduc and Blake Masters, who lost three winnable Senate seats in Arizona, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania, allowing Democrats to keep their majority. Democrats keep the majority; it means they can continue to confirm judges and confirm any executive branch nominees that President Biden puts forward should there be any openings. These were clearly winnable seats for the Republicans in this cycle that should have strongly favored them, but we saw Trump aligned nominees like these three give up winnable seats.

Republicans are thankful that there are alternatives emerging to President Donald Trump in the Republican primary in 2024. President Trump has declared his intention to run. However, three Republican governors, Brian Kemp, Ron DeSantis, and Greg Abbott had very strong showings in their reelection cycles this year and that's going to embolden challengers to Trump in the primary, and this could be a very competitive primary, giving them some alternatives to Trump, given that there's a growing number of Republicans who think he can't win a general election. Now, of course, the challenge will be, can these guys win if Trump decides that he's not going to support them should he lose the primary? But that's a question for another day.

Now, Republicans and Democrats are thankful that they're not going to be spending their holiday seasons relitigating false claims of election fraud the way they did in 2020. President Trump in 2020 claimed that the election was rigged and stolen from him. He refused to concede, and that really dominated the news cycle from Thanksgiving all the way through the January six riots, which were a terrible day for most lawmakers that were present. That's not going to happen this cycle. No one's really questioning the results of these elections. There were some questions about some voting machines malfunctioning in Arizona, but for the most part, this is a pretty clean election, and everyone understands that the legitimate ballots that were cast led to a legitimate outcome, a good day for American democracy. It's something that we should all be thankful for.

DeSantis Is More Disciplined than Trump, Says NPR Journalist | GZERO World

DeSantis is more disciplined than Trump, says NPR journalist

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is a rising Republican star. And his resounding victory in the US midterms is all but confirmation of a likely run for the president in 2024.

But he'll go up against former President Donald Trump.

For NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith, they're not the same. DeSantis, she tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World, is younger and far more disciplined than Trump.

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Back to Divided Government: Biden's Silver Lining From a Republican House | GZERO World

Back to divided government: Biden's silver lining from a Republican House

The GOP was gearing up for a red wave in the US midterms. But in the end, it was just a ripple, and while the Republicans narrowly won the House Democrats kept the Senate.

Why? Democrats turned out more voters worried about democracy and abortion, NPR's White House correspondent Tamara Keith tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

Divided government with such tight margins, she says, now means two things. First, nothing much is going to get done in Congress for two years.

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Ian Explains: How Democrats Used GOP Wins Against Them | GZERO World

How Democrats used GOP wins against them

It's going to be a red wave! No, a tsunami!

Nope. In the end, Republicans hoping for a wipeout in the US midterms barely won the House and Democrats kept the Senate.

Why? Turns out voters cared a lot about protecting two things: democracy and abortion, Ian Bremmer explains on GZERO World.

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US Democracy After US Midterms: Polarized Voters & Trump's GOP | GZERO World with Ian Bremmer

US democracy after US midterms: polarized voters & Trump's GOP

What happened in the US midterm elections is becoming clear: the red wave-turned-ripple was only enough for Republicans to narrowly win the House, while the Democrats kept the Senate. But 'why' it happened is a harder question to answer.

On GZERO World, NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith speaks to Ian Bremmer about all things midterms.

Her take on what saved the Dems? Abortion rights and protecting democracy turned out voters.

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