House Democrats just cornered House Republicans on George Santos


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It takes a two-thirds vote to expel anyone from the House. Under the current math, expelling George Santos would require all of the House Democrats plus roughly 40% of House Republicans to get on board with it. Right now that’s not going to happen. But House Democrats have nonetheless managed to win the battle, politically speaking.

House Democrats have forced the full House into a procedural vote on whether to move ahead with the expulsion process against George Santos. This means that every House Republican will now have to formally and publicly commit themselves to a “yes” or “no” position on expelling Santos.

For House Republicans in far right districts where someone like Santos is almost seen as a hero for sticking it to the government, it’s an easy call to vote in defense of Santos. But for House Republicans in moderate toss-up districts, this vote is a tough call. They have to either vote to keep Santos, which could hurt them with moderate voters in their district, or vote to expel Santos, which could hurt them with right wing voters in their district.

Some of these more vulnerable House Republicans don’t want to have to take any position on Santos right now at all, but this vote will force them to pick a side (or they can vote “present” and look like total wimps).

So even though this vote won’t get rid of George Santos, it will make him even more of a problem for House Republicans. Keep in mind that Santos will eventually end up tried, convicted, and imprisoned before the 2024 election. At that point voters in moderate districts will be demanding to know why he wasn’t expelled earlier โ€“ and the House Democrats running in those districts will be able to point back to when House Republicans voted against expelling him.

This kind of strategy is how elections โ€“ particularly elections for the most competitive seats โ€“ are won. The system is set up such that House Democrats can’t currently score the victory of expelling George Santos like he deserves. But they can score the important talking point about who’s refusing to expel Santos, and formally get it on the record, so they can use it during the election season. It’s winning strategy by the Democrats. Meanwhile the DOJ will end up finishing off George Santos.

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