It seems a narrow majority of the House GOP conference has plumped for ultra-rightist but somewhat establishment Rep. Steve Scalise over ultra-rightist bomb-thrower Rep. Jim Jordan as its choice for Speaker of the House–an office the Washington Post recently called ‘the worst job in Washington’.
But it also seems as though there currently are enough House GOP rebels to prevent Scalise from having the necessary 217 votes to get elected over Democratic opposition. So we remain in a state of paralysis while Gaza burns and Ukraine hangs in the wind. The chances that Scalise would cut a deal with Democrats to get elected, pass a budget, seem remote.
When looking for culprits for this state of affairs, in addition to the obvious do not forget the American campaign finance system, which allows unlimited dark money in federal campaigns, and the increasingly gerrymandered districts in so many states in which partisan majorities work to create as many safe seats as they can. If fewer districts are competitive, there is no incentive to tack to the center, nor to work with the opposition. Indeed, any sign of cooperation becomes a dangerous trait, as it leads to primary opponents.