Why did Democrats vote with MAGA Republicans to remove Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House?

I asked my member of Congress

I sent an email letter via online form to the U.S. Representative for the 4th District of Illinois Jesús G. “Chuy” García, my representative, regarding what I see as a possibly major strategic mistake on yesterday’s vote declaring the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives to be vacant. This is what I wrote:

Dear Representative García,

I tuned in to C-SPAN online and watched with interest yesterday’s historic proceedings in the U.S. House of Representatives that resulted in the removal of Representative Kevin McCarthy as Speaker. What I observed has left me with questions.

Ahead of the day, it was being reported that a small minority of radical right-wing MAGA Republicans in the House, led by Representative Matt Gaetz, wanted Rep. McCarthy removed as punishment for compromises with House Democrats that at the last possible minute kept the U.S. Federal Government from shutting down for 45 days while a longer term funding solution could be sought. If he couldn’t shut down the entire Government, it seemed, Rep. Gaetz was determined to at least shut down the House. My understanding was this was an internal fight within the Republican caucus and, while I understood that Democrats would not be coming to Rep. McCarthy’s rescue, I was nonetheless very surprised and somewhat confused as to why every single Democrat present, including yourself, voted in favor of the MAGA Republican extremist resolution declaring the Office of Speaker of the House of Representatives to be vacant.

What is the plan here?

It seems like yesterday could have been a great opportunity to let Rep. Gaetz fall figuratively on his face. Instead the Democratic caucus rallied with him against the Speaker, and effectively threw the House into chaos at a time when it urgently needs to be doing the People’s work, first of getting the government funded so operations can continue without constant crisis, and then get on to the other urgent work of addressing climate change, defending Ukraine against aggression by Russia, moving forward on comprehensive and just immigration reform, protecting voting rights, and all the other business you were elected to attend to on your constituents’ behalf—always working to build a more perfect Union.

I had no particular love for Rep. McCarthy as Speaker or otherwise, but what is the realistic alternative? How will you ensure that the U.S. House of Representatives returns to its important business as soon as possible?


John Dunlevy

I will post a followup when I receive a reply beyond just the automatic email thanking me for contacting his office. I would love to know the answer.

I guess my suspicion, or rather fear, is that because of their dislike of McCarthy, the House Democrats let themselves be manipulated into doing MAGA’s dirty work of effectively shutting down the House.

Updated November 15, 2023: Representative García has emailed me a response.