What is the Freedom Caucus?
When listening to news or reading articles about Representative Paul Ryan’s potential Speaker run, you may hear or see the word Freedom Caucus. This Caucus, which you may have never known about until the recent mentions in various media sites, seems to have all the power when it comes to electing the highest level of office in Congress, and the third highest level of office in all of the United States. So, what is the Freedom Caucus? And why does it have so much power in the Capitol?
You can infer what the Freedom Caucus is and why they have so much political sway just by the name. The Freedom Caucus is the team meeting in the House for the Tea Party, and all right wing politicians. This same group is the reason that Speaker John Boehner eventually decided to throw his gloves in the arena. They are the group who believe in no such thing as moderation, and want a tougher leader when it comes to fighting for conservative values on the House floor. Furthermore, the Tea Party was formed, as it is important to remember, in response to President George W. Bush. As this group sees it, the biggest competition is not the Democrats, but members of the Republican Party who are not truly upholding the GOP members as they see them to be. The Tea Party movement is a remarkable factor in the primary race (think Trump’s popularity), and in Washington, DC. If you are against them, you will find it hard to hold sway on Capitol Hill.
So, as Paul Ryan is eyeing the speaker’s gavel, he absolutely has to have the power of this caucus on his side. There are rumors that the Freedom Caucus’ opposition to Kevin McCarthy is the reason that the morning before the vote he dropped out of the race completely. Dave Brat, who beat Eric Cantor last summer, is a serious reminder to how much these individuals hold serious persuasion when it comes to elections and popularity on a whole.
The best part about the Freedom Caucus is that all the members are not known. Pew Research Center could not even get Congressman Darrel Issa’s comms director to confirm that Issa had a seat at this prestigious table. There are 36 identified members, but there are other Congressmen who could or could not be part of the group. The Freedom Caucus remains to be a mystery, even for journalists, and all that is known is that they hold the keys to the Speaker’s desk, and may hold the keys to the future of the Republican Party. From the past three weeks, their power is remarkably strong, and plays a greater role in the election process than any other caucus in the House of Representatives.