Why Are House Republicans Leaving Congress?

Listen and subscribe: Apple | Spotify | Google | Wherever You Listen

Sign up to receive our twice-weekly News & Politics newsletter.


Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced his resignation from Congress this week, not long after a coup by several of his Republican colleagues cost him the leadership. The lawmaker who had temporarily filled the Speaker position—Representative Patrick McHenry of North Carolina—also announced his departure from the lower chamber. But it’s not just former House Speakers who are leaving their positions. Dozens of members of the 118th Congress are not running for reëlection. Some are leaving to run for higher office, others are retiring, yet others have simply had enough—and one, Representative George Santos, was expelled. Former Representative Jim Cooper, Democrat of Tennessee, joins the New Yorker staff writers Susan B. Glasser, Jane Mayer, and Evan Osnos on this week’s episode to analyze this phenomenon. “It’s really become a clown show, and elections are like clown swapping,” he tells them. “I don’t think there is a Republican Party anymore, and, if there is one, it’s ungovernable because they eat their own.” Cooper and the hosts discuss what it is like to be in Congress, the state of the Republican Party, and the forces driving the recent exodus of members.

Have thoughts on The Political Scene? Send us an e-mail at themail@newyorker.com, including “The Political Scene” in the subject line.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *