Let me try to briefly up date you on where Jim Jordan’s zombie Speakership seems to be. As you know, he lost a Speakership vote Tuesday with 20 Republicans in opposition and then lost another yesterday with 22 votes in opposition. In the second outing, a couple switched to supporting him but more flipped in the other direction. After that he remained committed to forcing a third vote even though there was a strong consensus that his losing ground in the second vote meant his bid was over.
A few assumptions and developments are operating behind the scenes.
Among Jordan’s 200 or so supporters are a substantial number who had to be bludgeoned into their support. Once it seemed clear he wasn’t going to succeed, they probably felt a bit burned they had given in. More important than that, there are likely a substantial number of that 200 who voted for him again on round two just to avoid disrespecting him or getting on his bad side. It didn’t cost them much because enough members were already voting against him to kill his bid. No need to pile on. That calculus is probably changing since many are now pissed he’s dragging it out. He may need to see 20 and 22 shift to 30 or for him to accept his Speakership bid is over.
There’s also mounting anger over his team’s hardball tactics. They’ve organized a campaign of intimidation and political threats which his supporters, predictably, channeled into death threats against members who refuse to vote for him. Jordan had to go on Twitter last night and make a generic statement against threats and intimidation. Everybody’s always looking for that moment when GOP Team Normal will take back the party from the Trump authoritarians and of course they’re always disappointed. But we’re seeing at least some degree of refusal to go along with this from a non-trivial number of GOP members. And they’re being more explicit: you guys have brought the specter of violence and menace into electoral and parliamentary political process.
As of this morning it seems Jordan may be backing off or at least unwilling to hold an immediate third vote. One report suggests he may be coming around to a short term move to supersize Patrick McHenry’s pro-tem Speakership through January with the idea that Jordan would continue ‘campaigning’ for yet another Speaker election at the beginning of the calendar year.
In other words, it’s an off-ramp. Jordan can’t stomach the idea of losing. So in this scenario he doesn’t have to lose. No one will be calling him Jimmy Low Votes. The election is just delayed. Get it?
And here we are.