Americans Deserve a House of Representatives That Better Represents Them

This article was originally published on The Bulwark.

This month, the world was treated to the spectacle of the U.S. House of Representatives paralyzed for four days as Kevin McCarthy failed, ballot after ballot, to win the speaker’s gavel. He reportedly secured his victory by striking a Faustian bargain with the right wing of his conference, giving it a remarkable degree of power—to block and advance legislation, to sow chaos by pushing for a debt default, to run extremist candidates without opposition, and even to remove McCarthy from power on a snap vote. These concessions all but ensure the 118th Congress will be a microcosm of our political era. Expect bitter rifts, both within and between two dominant parties, one of which has been captured and held hostage by an authoritarian faction hostile to democracy itself; government divided on slim margins; and farcical political theater.

Yet away from Washington, something very different has happened. In Ohio, Alaska, and Pennsylvania, state legislative chambers all faced similar potential leadership impasses because of narrow margins, extremist factions, or both. But in all three states, groups within both parties united behind a consensus candidate or coalition.

Read the full article on The Bulwark.

About the Authors

Ben Raderstorf

Policy Advocate

Ben Raderstorf is a policy advocate at Protect Democracy. He helps direct policy and communications work around systemic threats to American democracy and writes If you can keep it, our weekly email briefing.

Beau Tremitiere


Beau Tremitiere develops and leads advocacy projects targeting political extremism and authoritarianism, including litigation challenging the constitutionality of state laws prohibiting fusion voting.

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