House Republican Leaders Shouldn’t Misread the Election

With a new Congress underway, and a Republican administration about to take power, there is a lot of excitement in the air in anticipation of the policy priorities Republicans may be able to accomplish. Some, however, have clearly misread the change in the political winds.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) recently made a bold prediction that people “will see [Republicans] sticking together more” in a Trump administration. The comments were concerning, given that Republican leadership has often tried to lead the conference astray.

McCarthy excused the behavior of House Republican leadership over the past few years, which included the passage of two budgets that blew through the spending caps set under the 2011 Budget Control Act, and blamed the House Freedom Caucus. The group of around 40 principled fiscal conservatives in the chamber “made the House Republicans actually weaker because you had to negotiate with Nancy Pelosi. If we stuck together, then we’re always stronger.”

“I’m sure [House Freedom Caucus] districts, Donald Trump probably did the best in. It’d be hard for them to stand up if President-elect Trump is asking for this fundamental change, and they’re saying no to it, is harder,” McCarthy added.

While he wasn’t in Congress for all of the Bush administration, McCarthy should realize the reasons why Republicans lost control of the legislative branch. They fell in love with power and became corrupted by it. Put simply, Republicans lost their way, as defined by the limited government principles on which they run in every election.