The latest polls of the generic congressional ballot suggest that while Republicans remain the favorite to take control of the House this fall, they may wind up winning far fewer seats than was anticipated even a few months ago.
That outcome would be very good news for Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and her fellow members of the House Freedom Caucus.
1. A narrow House Republican majority means that Kevin McCarthy, who will likely be speaker in 2023 if the party retakes the House, would need every single GOP vote to pass critical measures.
2. The House Freedom Caucus, which boasts 40-ish members, is one of the largest – and most cohesive – voting blocs in the chamber.
3. If they withhold their votes on any measure, they could effectively kill it.
4. Given 1-3, McCarthy has to make nice with the Freedom Caucus on, well, pretty much everything.
That includes his ascension to the speakership. Greene has already begun making demands of McCarthy, using his desires for the job as bait.
“We know that Kevin McCarthy has a problem in our conference,” she said on Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz’s podcast last year. “He doesn’t have the full support to be speaker.”
(One of Greene’s demands was that Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger be removed from the House Republican conference. That hasn’t happened, though both will be gone from the House after this term.)
Greene has been quieter on McCarthy of late. The two were among a group of Republicans that made a trip to the southern border earlier this year to highlight their problems with President Joe Biden’s immigration policies. And Greene was on hand when McCarthy rolled out his “Commitment to America” policy blueprint in Pennsylvania last week.
But you can be sure she and her Freedom Caucus allies understand the House math (as does McCarthy). The narrower the Republican majority post-2022 (assuming Republicans retake the majority), the more power Greene and her ilk have.
The Point: Buckle up. A small Republican House majority would have a strong House Freedom Caucus influence.