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Analysis: McCarthy is speaker, but the extremists hold the power



Kevin McCarthy faces the first test of his capacity to cling onto power on Monday after he effectively gutted the House speakership of much of its authority so he could secure his dream job.

McCarthy finally won the gavel on the 15th ballot early Saturday morning amid chaotic scenes after pleading with holdouts to relent and caving to the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus with repeated concessions.

Now, the new speaker must manage his conference in his first order of business: Attempting to pass a package of House rules that is effectively a ransom on power required by his party’s most extreme elements.

The risk for McCarthy is not just that he undermined his own tenure by agreeing to one particular rule change that means a single member can call for a vote to topple him at any time. It is that he has empowered extremists who could alienate mainstream America and in 2024 endanger the tiny new GOP majority that was built on flipping formerly Democratic seats in states like New York and California.

The ideological extremism of the new House…

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