It appears the Republican Establishment used a little known trick called "vote parking" to derail Jim Jordan's popular bid to become the next Speaker of the House. Jordan is the popular choice amongst the grassroots, conservative base and despite supporting McCarthy in the past, is refuted by the Establishment pulling the strings in the Swamp.
On the first ballot yesterday, Jordan received 200 votes and had 19 Republicans voting against him. To win the Speakership, he can't afford to lose more than four Republican votes since the GOP holds a slim 221-212 margin over the Democrats. After the vote, the House adjourned for the day and Jordan's team went to work trying to win over support.
But today's vote didn't go the way some expected. Jordan was able to win over independent minded Victoria Spartz, who voted for Thomas Massie on the first ballot. However, four Republicans who voted for Jordan yesterday, switched their vote for a myriad of other choices. Minnesota's own Pete Stauber was one of them.
The strategy that appears to be deployed here is called "vote parking" where one team selects personnel to vote on the first ballot for their opponent to give the perception he is stronger than reality. Then, on subsequent ballots, those personnel (who are loyal to the opponent) switch their votes to give the perception that the early leader is losing support and cause a natural movement of votes away from him. After all, we're all emotional creatures and don't want to be on the losing team.
Will Jordan become the Speaker with these kinds of moves being made against him? It doesn't look good, which just shows how out-of-touch the Republican Establishment is with the base. But that's no shock - they don't get funded from the grassroots.
What's interesting about this Speaker race is the hypocrisy unfolding right before our own eyes. Back in January when Gaetz and conservatives worked against Kevin McCarthy getting the votes, the Establishment scolded us with carefully crafted talking points which seem to only be valid when it's their guy facing troubled waters. Let's review:
Talking Point #1 - You don't have a guy that can get to 218 votes
So far, the Republican Establishment types who are going against Jim Jordan have not nominated anyone else from the floor. At least Matt Gaetz put up choices for nomination and gave a speech for them. McCarthy no longer has 218 votes; nor does Scalise. In fact, some of the Establishment types aren't even being serious. Rep John James nominated the Macomb County, Michigan Public Works Commissioner, Candice Miller. And Rep Mike Kelly nominated failed former Speaker John Boehner. So at this time, we're at a stand still. But at least Jim Jordan is a viable candidate who is being nominated from the floor.
Talking Point #2 - A small minority shouldn't be able to decide when the Republican Conference already voted
Kevin McCarthy won a large majority of votes behind closed doors in the Republican Conference back before the first Speaker vote in January. So when Gaetz and company voted their conscience on the floor, they were scolded for not being on the team. Well, Jim Jordan also received a majority of votes of the Republican Conference, yet currently 23 Republicans (a small minority) are deciding to not abide by the rest of the Conference's pick, which includes Kevin McCarthy's pick.
Talking Point #3 - Democrats love this, we'll lose the next election
If holding up McCarthy's vote nearly two years out from the 2024 election was going to be the reason Republicans lose next November, then holding up Jim Jordan's Speakership one year away from the election is more likely going to be on the minds of voters. But, ya know what, it turns out voters are not going to care about this in a year - they'll care more about WWIII and massive inflation.