As of the end of business hours Friday, Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy had lost 13 straight votes for House speaker. Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, part of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus, sneered that McCarthy, who had moved things from him to the speaker’s office, was a illegitimate occupant. Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw called Gaetz and the reticent of him «childish.”

All week it had felt like we were just a few insults away from C-SPAN having a live food fight on the Chamber floor. And indeed, McCarthy finally prevailed after midnight on Saturday, in the 15th round of voting, but not before. a literal fight it nearly broke out between Gaetz and a fellow Republican.

The grunts and whines (and fights) of the Republican Party have understandably been the focus of most commentary and news coverage. The self-immolation of the Republican Party has been remarkable to watch. But that’s how, in a calmer way, has been the discipline of the Democrats.

Vote after vote, hour after hour, the Democratic minority cast their votes for the conference leader, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York. And as a result, Jeffries carried vote after vote for the speaker, though McCarthy ultimately came out ahead on Friday.

The Democrat’s quiet competition and unity is a stark contrast not only to the irresponsibility of the Republican Party, but also to the Democrat’s own modern image. For yearsthe media have run blaring headlines “democrats in disarray!”

The Democrats are engaged in a perpetual «circular firing squadwrote Business Insider in 2010. «Democrats have a unity problem.» NPR said in October 2021. «That’s familiar territory for them.» Last month, Politico ran an article about Democrats in disarray because some Democrats they were less than excited on Rep. Jim Clyburn’s tenure in leadership. And just this week there was (false) reports that the Democrats were getting bored with the House leadership race and might just give up the fight, allowing McCarthy to win.

Just this week there were (false) reports that the Democrats were getting bored of the House leadership race and might just give up the fight.

The Democrats have real internal ideological and personal disagreements, as do most political parties. In the Senate, conservative Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia and former Democrat, now an independent, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, occupied much of President Joe Biden’s agenda. Many progressives criticized the Biden administration for what they saw as his lackluster policy response to the repeal by the Supreme Court of a constitutional right to abortion. Democrats sometimes criticize each other in contested primaries.

But there’s a big difference between this healthy and normal political maneuvering and the tensions and divisions currently plaguing the Republican Party. Many in the Republican Party now live to spew venom at the party «establishment.» Before deciding to deny McCarthy the speaker’s gavel, the House Freedom Caucus John Boehner’s presidency ended prematurely. He then effectively surpassed the leadership of his successor, Paul Ryan, who resign as soon as he could.

And those fights seem like minor skirmishes compared to the internal GOP animosity unleashed by Donald Trump. Remember that in 2016, Triumph reclaimed that the presidential primary opponent, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, was the son of a man who assisted in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, an ugly, racist conspiracy theory with absolutely no basis in fact. And after his 2020 defeat, when his own Vice President, Mike Pence, refused to overturn the election in his name, Trump expressed his support for Pence being hanged.

There are many other examples. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was inundated with death threats from other republicans after he refused to illegally overturn state election results at Trump’s behest. Republican Missouri Senate candidate Eric Greitens posted an ad in which he «hunted» people characterized as less conservative Republicans. No wonder Republicans have trouble showing unity in the House.

But why, then, is «Democrats in Disarray» still such a powerful narrative?

But why, then, is «Democrats in Disarray» still such a powerful narrative?

Part of this is probably the (almost too simple) fact that «Democrats in disarray» is alliterative while «Republicans in disarray» is not. Part of this may be because the Democratic coalition is large and diverse, while the Republicans are largely the party of aged white men. Like most institutions, the media is subject to bias and stereotyping, and can sometimes semi-consciously assume that racial homogeneity automatically leads to greater unity. Part of this is that humans crave drama, or at least the perception of it. And the law or “both sides” media coverage dictates that if GOP issues make headlines, there must be coverage of Democratic issues as well, even if there is no equivalence, even if one side is a ridiculous partisan mob. and treacherous.

Meanwhile, Democrats have put aside their differences to unite around Biden in 2020 and again in 2022. And every member of the House caucus, from the anti-abortion reactionary Henry Cuellar to the democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has voted time and time again for Hakeem Jeffries of New York as a speaker. They have remained focused on exposing Republican divisions. This since the Republicans have also focused on exposing Republican divisions.

Unity is not everything. Democrats can vote en bloc from now until the end of this Congress, but they just didn’t have the numbers to elect Jeffries for president. And yet, Democrats are often accused of being useless and irresponsible, more interested in infighting than coming together for common goals. With every vote in the House this week, they have shown that the criticism is overblown.