the rise of the right-wingers in the GOP


WASHINGTON – Republican congressional leaders have always had trouble with their most conservative members – but not like this.

While Kevin McCarthy did finally rack up enough votes to become Speaker of the House, the deals he made – and the narrow margin of the GOP majority – may wind up giving the hardcore conservative movement the most power it has ever had, a movement that has lasted for decades.

“This takes it to a whole new level,” said Jack Pitney, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College and a former Republican who has studied conservative politics for decades.

How did the Republicans get here? Because ever-shifting groups of conservative activists have fought ever-evolving Republican establishments for more than a half-century, from Barry Goldwater to Ronald Reagan to Newt Gingrich to the Tea Party to Donald Trump to, now, the House Freedom Caucus.

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The battle over McCarthy and the speaker’s job angered many traditional Republicans who see this latest crop of ultra-conservatives as more interested in confrontation and television appearances than in governing or making policy.



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