With McCarthy out, ‘we are slouching towards political chaos’

This week, Kevin McCarthy was ousted from his role as Speaker of the House—a move made successful by eight hard-right members of McCarthy’s own party.

Mabel Baerezin is a comparative sociologist whose work explores the intersection of political institutions with an emphasis on challenges to democratic cohesion. She says that with our government stalled, our democracy is threatened like never before. 

“We are slouching towards political chaos. The media blames a group of rogue Republicans led by Matt Gaetz for the ouster of House Speaker McCarthy. Gaetz and company were the immediate cause, but the event was long in the making. It was inevitable an outcome of the noxious combination of egotism and timidity that has dominated Republican party politics since the spring of 2016—when multiple Republican primary contenders couldn’t work together to step out of the race—thus paving the way for Trump’s nomination,” says Berezin, Distinguished Professor of Arts & Sciences in Sociology in the College of Arts & Sciences.

“Event by event, Republicans backed down before Trump or thought that they would be the one to turn him around with various concessions. In the end, yesterday was the culmination of the erosion of political courage among Republicans tout court.  Our government is stalled, and our democracy is threatened as never before,” Berezin says.

Berezin, director of the Institute for European Studies, adds that “The United States stands in sharp contrast to Europe where there has been an ongoing right-wing resurgence since the 2000s. In Europe, right wing parties want to dominate their respective governments using the legal means at their disposal.  When they lose elections, they walk away and try again — they do not tear the place apart — because in the end they want the place.”

For interviews contact Damien Sharp, cell: 540.222.8208, drs395@cornell.edu.

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