New House Speaker Mike Johnson leads a GOP majority weakened by decades of declining party authority

After the House of Representatives took the unprecedented step on Oct. 3, 2023, of removing its own speaker, Kevin McCarthy of California, with eight Republicans joining all 208 voting Democrats to “vacate the chair,” what followed was weeks of uncertainty. Until conservative Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson was elected speaker of the House on Oct. 25, no candidate had been able to secure the necessary number of Republicans to win a vote on the House floor. The two proximate reasons for the GOP's struggle to pick and keep a speaker are that it is internally divided and its majority in the House is small.