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Why a Narrow, Hard-Right Republican House Majority Could Spell Chaos

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Josh Brecheen, an ardent Republican who’s virtually assured of victory in November to represent an overwhelmingly red House seat in eastern Oklahoma, has a message that’s geared as much toward G.O.P. leaders in Washington because it is toward his party’s voters: He’s not going to the Capitol to make friends.

“Whomever is elected to this seat will probably be groomed for conformity into moderate positions and debt spending by the Republican establishment,” he proclaims on his campaign website. “Only a rare few won’t feast on the buffet of compromise.”

Mr. Brecheen assures voters he won’t be tempted.

As the overall election season begins in earnest, the House Republican conference appears destined for a more conservative, fractious future irrespective of which party wins a majority, due to the candidates chosen by voters in probably the most solidly G.O.P. districts.

Quite a few Republican contenders in battleground districts have taken fringe positions or espoused conspiracy theories. Democrats have trained their sights on these candidates, hoping to dam a wave of extremism. However the variety of open seats in solidly Republican districts implies that the G.O.P. continues to be favored to secure a narrow majority.

That might spell trouble for Republican leaders like Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the person who can be speaker, and their ability to control.

It could also mean that the federal government will struggle to perform such mundane tasks as keeping itself from defaulting on its debt and plunging the worldwide economic system into chaos. At the identical time, a Republican-led stream of impeachments, as some lawmakers have promised for the attorney general, the homeland security secretary, the education secretary and the president, could function an limitless string of distractions for the chief branch.

“I’ll operate in kindness and love, and at the identical time take hard stands,” Mr. Brecheen said in an interview, vowing, as an illustration, never to vote to lift the federal government’s borrowing limit, despite the danger of undermining the world’s faith in federal bond sales. “In some unspecified time in the future, now we have to attract a line within the sand.”

Other candidates have emerged who could revive a corps of conservatives who bedeviled past G.O.P. speakers as they tried to lift Washington’s statutory borrowing limit, keep the federal government funded and operating, and approve annual military and intelligence policy bills. Such prospects seem so harrowing that one former Republican leadership aide, who insisted on anonymity, said he hoped Democratic leaders would raise the debt ceiling within the lame-duck session of Congress this winter quite than risk the first-ever default on United States government debt.

“I believe it’ll be very difficult,” said Jacob Rubashkin, an analyst with the nonpartisan publication Inside Elections, a political forecaster. “It’s been remarkable to see Nancy Pelosi handle a narrow majority. So it is feasible to pass bills with only a few votes to spare.”

With the primaries winding down, each parties are beginning to shift their focus to the overall election on Nov. 8.

But, he added, “Kevin McCarthy isn’t Nancy Pelosi.”

Since Newt Gingrich’s “Republican Revolution” of 1994, compromise in some corners of the party has been a unclean word, and people corners have grown, first with the Tea Party movement of 2010, then with the “America First” wave of Donald J. Trump’s era.

The previous president’s hold on the party has added a component of uncertainty: The self-described America First Caucus, a small group of House members whose loyalty to him appears to eclipse all else, is more likely to grow next 12 months. And the group could break with the Republican House leadership at any time if Mr. Trump orders it to accomplish that.

“If Trump endorses McCarthy and stays with him, these folks will stick with him,” said Doug Heye, a Republican leadership aide throughout the Obama-era G.O.P. majorities. “But,” he added, “all bets are off if Trump pulls away.”

It isn’t hard to discern where the pressure points will develop.

Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Matt Gaetz of Florida and Paul Gosar of Arizona have already formed the core of a House caucus that’s loyal to Mr. Trump and further to the fitting than the House Freedom Caucus and its predecessors, groups of conservatives who tormented the 2 most up-to-date Republican speakers, John Boehner and Paul D. Ryan. The House Republicans’ right flank forced the shutdown of much of the federal government several times, and nearly prompted a default on government debt.

Joe Kent, a retired Green Beret who defeated Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler in Washington State last month with Mr. Trump’s blessing, has made it clear he intends to make waves within the Capitol. On a recent appearance on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show, he promised those that sympathize with the Capitol rioters, “We hear you, we’re going to return, we’re going to take a look at the election of 2020.” He added, “We’re going to speak in confidence to the American people once and for all what actually happened — release all of the footage.”

Andy Ogles, who’s heavily favored to win a newly drawn seat in Tennessee that was designed to wipe out a Democratic district in Nashville, called for his state attorney general to affix other Republican attorneys general searching for to overturn Mr. Biden’s 2020 victory in Pennsylvania.

How Times reporters cover politics. We depend on our journalists to be independent observers. So while Times staff members may vote, they are usually not allowed to endorse or campaign for candidates or political causes. This includes participating in marches or rallies in support of a movement or giving money to, or raising money for, any political candidate or election cause.

“I might hope that he’d be a thorn within the side of leadership,” said James Garrett, the chairman of the Republican Party of Davidson County, the district’s base.

Max Miller, a former White House aide to Mr. Trump and the Republican nominee for a G.O.P.-leaning district in Ohio, has made loyalty to the previous president his calling card.

Eric Burlison, a shoo-in to represent an open district in southwestern Missouri, has pushed laws within the Missouri State Senate that will grant blanket immunity to anyone “who uses or threatens to make use of physical or deadly force in self-defense” unless the violence was against a law enforcement officer. Not even the conservative state legislature would pass it.

Mike Collins, who is almost certain to win an open seat in Georgia, pressed for a “forensic audit” of Georgia’s 2020 ballots, despite the fact that they were counted, then recounted by hand to verify Mr. Biden’s victory within the state. He has promised voters, “I’m your pro-Trump, ‘Give Me Back My America First’ agenda candidate.”

And Keith Self, who faces only nominal Democratic opposition before he wins a seat in Texas’ Third Congressional District, could also fortify the flank on the leadership’s right.

Not one of the candidates besides Mr. Brecheen responded to requests for comment.

For some far-right House candidates, victory isn’t guaranteed. Sarah Palin, the previous Alaska governor and Republican vice-presidential nominee, lost a special election last week to fill the rest of the term vacated by Alaska’s longtime representative, Don Young, who died in office in March. But she’s going to try again in November, this time for a full term and a probability to resume her role as a number one conservative scene-stealer.

“It’s an actual political full-circle moment to see her re-emerge on the national stage,” Mr. Rubashkin said. “Politics have moved a lot in her direction since her exit, it’s sort of poetic.”

J.R. Majewski, the surprise victor in an Ohio Republican primary in May, has flirted with the QAnon conspiracy theory, fulminated against what he has called “a fake pandemic organized by a fake government to hijack a fake election,” and was on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The brand new lines of Ohio’s Ninth District were drawn by Republican state legislators to attempt to end the profession of Representative Marcy Kaptur, certainly one of the Buckeye State’s last Democrats in Congress, and the race is taken into account a tossup.

In Nevada, Sam Peters, who’s locked in an in depth contest to unseat Representative Steven Horsford, a Democrat, has used a QAnon hashtag on social media and once declared that Mr. Trump couldn’t have lost Wisconsin in 2020 because he had the backing of Brett Favre, the previous Green Bay Packers star.

Then there are the Trump-aligned candidates with tough roads ahead but clear shots at victory, like Bo Hines, a 27-year-old who’s running for a swing seat in North Carolina because the state’s next brash young conservative, now that Representative Madison Cawthorn has lost his re-election bid. Sandy Smith, also in North Carolina, and Brandon Williams in upstate Recent York could win as well in a superb Republican 12 months. Each have strong Trump credentials.

When Republicans were predicting a seismic sweep in November, the influence of the far-right caucus was less worrying for leadership. A robust Republican majority would give Mr. McCarthy room to maneuver — and to lose support from some far-right Republicans on raising the debt ceiling and funding the federal government. Now, nonetheless, as political winds shift toward the Democrats, prognosticators like David Wasserman, a House analyst on the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, see a narrow 10-to-20-seat Republican majority and trouble ahead.

Even with leverage, the Trump wing would should know methods to use it. Brendan Buck, who served as a top aide to Mr. Ryan when he was speaker, said that the House Freedom Caucus had never been clear on its policy goals, but that its members understood parliamentary procedures — methods to threaten the tenure of a speaker — and methods to use their unity and membership totals to wreak havoc.

The Greene-Boebert-Gaetz wing has never shown such acumen, Mr. Buck said, but it surely has something that Freedom Caucus leaders prior to now and present have never had — a loyal, large following.

“At this point, they’re way ahead of where the Freedom Caucus was by way of outside strength,” Mr. Buck said. “They’ve huge profiles. They’ll get people animated greater than the Freedom Caucus ever could.”

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