“I want out of that hellhole.” Two days ago, the former speaker addressed a public meeting U.S. House Republican Kevin McCarthy was more cautious: He said he wanted to think about his future until the Dec. 8 deadline for renominations for Congress. Another week will tell whether he still wants to do politics in the chamber where he was Republican leader for nearly ten years, until the latest revolt by far-right lawmakers that led to his ouster. But in private, with his campaign donors, he was more open. After all, for him, a moderate often eager to ride the Trump tiger, the air in Congress has become unbreathable: he has been constantly contested by far-right rebels during his tenure, and recently he came into physical conflict with some organizer. Conspiracy against him. McCarthy’s was a serious case, but not only did he abandon a Congress semi-paralyzed by cross-vetos from lawmakers fed up with an atmosphere of radical opposition, but continued bickering, especially rampant in the House. November saw a record 14 representatives and senators withdraw from running for re-election. There are forty in total so far (among them high-profile figures like Mitt Romney and Joe Manchin) and they will increase in the coming weeks.
Large numbers but dramatic dropouts (some reps drop out… run for the Senate) and the renewal of the political class is not negative, because in America, besides Biden and Trump fighting for the White House, there are many seventy-year-olds in Congress (average age 60). Almost twenty and eighty years old: from Democrats Bernie Sanders (82) and Nancy Pelosi (83) to Republican Senators McConnell (81) and Grassley (89). The point is, as David Wasserman explains in the authoritative Cook Political Report, this flurry of withdrawals is mainly about parliamentarians with too much respect for institutions. In short, with the polarization of politics, replacing politicians open to debate (disparagingly labeled as moderates) with Parliament as a place of abuse rather than dialogue, the search for pastern and common solutions will continue in the next Congress.
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