Tom Brenner Agence France-Presse The election of Louisiana MP Mike Johnson puts American legislative power back into action, but may not contribute to strengthening voters' confidence in this democratic institution now led by an anti-democrat.
Breaking the deadlock for the Republicans in Congress, who, on Wednesday, finally rallied behind the candidacy of Louisiana MP Mike Johnson, elected in the afternoon as the new President of the House of Representatives. In three weeks, this was the majority party's fourth attempt to find a replacement for Kevin McCarthy, who was dismissed at the beginning of the month following a rebellion orchestrated by the radical fringe of the Republican caucus in the House. /p>
Mike Johnson is one of the architects of the Republican campaigns which aimed in 2020 to reject the electoral college vote for Joe Biden, in order to keep Donald Trump in power, in contradiction with the results of the polls.< /p>
He takes control of the gavel and the House in the wake of the setbacks suffered by Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan, two other voter fraud conspiracy theorists, who failed to obtain a majority of votes to fill the seat of speaker. Tuesday evening, the Republican caucus' choice of moderate Tom Emmer did not even make it to the plenary session, the main interested party having decided to withdraw his candidacy to avoid facing a lost vote in advance. He had not received the support of the radicals of his party, nor the necessary dubbing of former President Donald Trump.
However, if this election restarts the American legislative power, paralyzed by several weeks of confusion and divisions within the Republican political party revealed in broad daylight, it may not contribute to strengthening voters' confidence in this institution. democratic now led by an anti-democrat: Mike Johnson is of the opinion that Joe Biden, with whom he will have to work in the coming weeks on crucial issues, is not the legitimate president of the United States.
“Since the early 1970s, we have witnessed an erosion of public confidence in almost all major American institutions, and Congress has certainly been the most affected,” explains Kay in an interview with Devoir L. Schlozman, specialist in American politics at Boston College. The great difficulty of the Republicans, who have a very small majority in the House of Representatives, in electing a president of this chamber for weeks could have further undermined this confidence in Congress. »
With 220 votes cast in support of Mike Johnson – he needed 215 to be elected – the Republicans in the House responded Wednesday to the impatience of the population, visibly disillusioned by the length of the crisis triggered by the extreme elements of the party and its maintenance by significant divisions within the right-wing political formation. A recent poll conducted by Suffolk University revealed on Sunday that 67% of Americans believed that the time had come for the House to find a new president, in the context where elected officials will have to make decisions important on the aid to be given to Israel and Ukraine. Among other things.
A functional Chamber is also necessary to prevent a partial paralysis of the government next month due to lack of a vote on the state budget.
Confidence at half mast
The scenes of chaos from the American legislative headquarters which have multiplied on television since October 3, and the fall of McCarthy, have also done nothing to restore the image of the institution.
Barely 4% of the 1,000 people surveyed express a lot of confidence in the Chamber and its elected representatives, while the vast majority of respondents, 62%, now have “none”, or “very little”. A weakness perceived by the new president, who, in the wake of his election, recognized that the “recent weeks have been difficult”. “There is an urgent need to act boldly and decisively to restore trust, advance our legislative priorities and ensure good governance,” he wrote on the X network, formerly Twitter, while calling for reinjection of “reason” into government at large.
4% This is the proportion of respondents to a recent survey conducted by Suffolk University who express a lot of confidence in the Chamber and its elected officials. There are now 62% who have “none”, or “very few”.
For its part, the Democratic National Committee was outraged to see this promoter of “MAGA extremism” – named after the Make America Great Again movement, which brought Donald Trump to power in 2016 – access this position. “Many Americans woke up this morning wondering: Who is Mike Johnson? We'll tell you: the new president […] supports the most restrictive abortion policies nationwide. He led the charge for Donald Trump against President Biden's legitimate election victory and attempted to reverse the vote of 81 million Americans. He is one of the main supporters of reducing social security and health insurance,” party spokesperson Sarafina Chitika said in a statement.
Mr. Johnson, 51, also describes himself as an “evangelical politician” whose decisions are guided by religious beliefs.
According to the Democrats, the Republicans in the House will also have to answer for their support for this candidate from the extreme fringe of the Republican Party during the next election, in November 2024.
The arrival of Mike Johnson in this position, one of the most influential in the American legislative apparatus, does not bode well for American democracy, due to the rejection by the new president, when he was a deputy, in 2020 , of the peaceful transfer of power in this country. “The principle of accepting election results held until 2020,” says Kay L. Schlozman. That year, for the first time in U.S. presidential election history, many losers refused to accept the result, despite there being no evidence of voter fraud. This rejection likely helped erode public trust in a fundamental democratic process, and it still threatens American democracy. »
And he does it today, a little more, from the inside.