Whether Pelosi or McCarthy, California Rules the House

 House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) remains the favorite to win the race for Speaker of the House when elections are held this week — hoping to take over from another Californian, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

In fact, what is most striking about this week’s contest as the new Congress takes office — with a narrow GOP majority in the House, holding just 222 seats to Democrats’ 213 — is that California will likely remain on top.

That is partly a function of the fact that California has the most congressional seats, with 52 — even after one was deducted after the 2020 Census. But even holding about 12% of the seats does not guarantee the gavel.

The anomaly of a Californian holding power is also interesting given the fact that the state is arguably America’s most left-wing jurisdiction. Several other “blue” states come close, but California is still the most extreme. On January 1, a slew of new radical laws came into effect, including one making the state a “sanctuary” for child gender-reassignment drugs and surgery. California Democrats take pride in leading the nation’s political left.

Pelosi represents San Francisco, the most left-wing part of the most left-wing state. There is no way in which she or her constituents can be said to represent the nation as a whole. Moreover, while her city is among the richest in the U.S., it is also the most dysfunctional. The “sewer geysers” that erupted this week during heavy rains are a symbol for the city’s failures. To critics, San Francisco is the example of left-wing policy catastrophe.

McCarthy represents parts of Kern and Tulare counties, the part of California that is most like the rest of the United States. It is an oil-producing region, driven by working-class residents and with an increasingly diverse population. But as a California Republican, McCarthy is essentially powerless in his own state. There is no way in which his political home represents the party as a whole. It has not achieved anything in several decades.

Regardless, the apparent continuity between Pelosi and McCarthy reveals that California will still have an outsized role in American governance — just as it still occupies a central place in the American imagination.

Whether Pelosi or McCarthy, California Rules the House Whether Pelosi or McCarthy, California Rules the House Reviewed by Your Destination on January 02, 2023 Rating: 5

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