The Hill

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The search for a new Speaker of the House is finally over.

Nearly a month after Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) successfully kicked off a motion to vacate, removing Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) from the job, the position has finally been filled by Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA).

Johnson was the fourth Republican nominee for the role. The first three — Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), and Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) — all failed to gain the necessary support of House Republicans to win a simple majority in a floor vote.

Johnson not only received sufficient support, he received the unanimous support of House Republicans. After three weeks of Republican division, debate, and dissent, Johnson rallied all factions of the party. How did he manage this?

For starters, right-rated voices stressed that he appears to be well-liked by his colleagues.

John Fund (Lean Right bias) said Johnson "pulled off what no one thought possible," crediting his "formidable communication skills" and positive reputation among Republicans. "Mike Johnson, at 51 the youngest House speaker save for Paul Ryan in 150 years, has demonstrated both talent and luck are on his side.”

A Washington Examiner (Lean Right bias) writer characterized Johnson as "Freedom Caucus adjacent" and said he has a "deep reservoir of goodwill across the conference."

Left-rated voices credited his connection to former President Donald Trump as the secret to his success.

Ruth Marcus (Lean Left bias) argued Johnson "might be more dangerous" than Jordan, citing his "bespectacled, low-key presentation, a law degree and an unswerving commitment to conservative dogma and former president Donald Trump." Johnson was the "moving force" behind a Supreme Court brief disputing the results of the 2020 election that "helped lay the shoddy intellectual groundwork for Jan. 6, 2021."

Gail Collins (Left bias) determined Johnson is "exactly the kind of guy you’d expect to come up on top," deeming him a "Right-wing anti-abortion activist who gets along with his colleagues and who, crucially, has items in his résumé that won Trump’s heart."

Regardless of how Johnson's connection to Trump influenced his chances in the speaker race, his victory is widely seen as a victory for Trump and the MAGA movement. After Johnson's victory, Gaetz stated, "The swamp is on the run, Maga is ascendant."

Daily Beast (Left bias) Senior Columnist Matt Lewis (Center bias) deemed Johnson's victory to be the dawn of "third-wave Trumpism," a new era for the MAGA movement. "When Trump was first elected, he was forced to work with Republicans who had previously been hostile to him and did not share his worldview. Then, a second wave included converts who, though thoroughly co-opted by Trump, had started off in the establishment lane." Johnson's victory signifies "the elevation of true believers. The rise of the first MAGA speaker."

Johnson has little time to celebrate his victory. The issue of aid to Ukraine (which Johnson has previously opposed) needs addressing. Aid to Israel is on the docket too. Also, the continuing resolution passed in September (which Johnson voted against) only funds the federal government until November 18, at which point a shutdown will occur if a spending bill isn't passed.

Winning the gavel may have been the easy part.

Top words about the US House Speaker race used more on each side of the media.
Analysis from Partisan Playground; Media Bias Ratings from AllSides

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More from the Center

Speaker saga takeaways: Why Mike Johnson won and his coming challenges
The Hill (analysis)

"After bitter and personal battles sank three other Speaker options, House Republicans found Johnson to be the conservative constitutionalist with a dash of Southern charm that they needed to end the turmoil at the right time — giving him unanimous GOP support. But even though the biggest intraparty crisis is over, the House and Republicans face immediate challenges over government spending, as well as wartime aid to Israel and Ukraine."

More from the Left

Why Mike Johnson winning the speakership is a loss for the country
Julian Zelizer (opinion)

"On almost every issue, Johnson is hard right. He has been a staunch opponent of same-sex marriage. He has been at the forefront of opposing reproductive rights. He opposed funding for Ukraine. He wants to deregulate the economy, cut taxes and deny the very real problems facing our climate."

More from the Right

Neocons Fear Speaker Mike Johnson Could Bring An End To Ukraine War Cash
The Federalist (opinion)

"With Johnson now speaker and leading the House, Biden’s Ukraine funding request is in a precarious situation. Johnson voted for the initial Ukraine spending bill In April 2022 but has taken a dramatic turn since then, opposing all new Ukraine funding requests and demanding transparency from Ukraine on its use of American tax dollars."

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