The US House vote was unusual but democratic
The ouster of Kevin McCarthy as House speaker was enabled by cross-party voting. But that’s how the system is meant to work. Elected lawmakers represent people, not parties
It is rare for US Democrats and Republicans to find common ground. And never before has a speaker of the House of Representatives been ousted by a floor vote. Indeed, shock-waves were sent across Washington on Tuesday by Kevin McCarthy being voted out as speaker by the lower chamber of US Congress, where his own party held the balance of power. The vote saw 216 members in favour of the ‘vacate’ motion moved by fellow Republican Matt Gaetz to eject McCarthy from his post and 210 against it. Eight Republicans broke party ranks to vote along with Democrats. While the latter were peeved by McCarthy’s launch of an impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden, a Democrat, it’s a sharp comment on divisions within the opposition that McCarthy lost his job instead. A sense of comeuppance on the Hill may be traced to the reading that McCarthy jumped the gun in going after Biden, since no conclusive evidence has yet been found to show the US leader had let his office be misused by his son Hunter Biden for private business gains. So the effort to impeach the President seemed excessive. But politics being what it is, there was much more to it.