It's time for Howard's Illustrated Economics.
All but 10 House Republicans voted for Paul Ryan for speaker less than an hour ago. But that appearance of Republican unity is a fiction. The House has been a three-party body for years.
In theory the breakdown in the House is this - 188 Democrats - 247 Republicans - so Republicans have a majority and ought to be able to do what they want, provided they compromise slightly to pick up some Democrat votes when they want something to be veto proof.
But in reality there are 188 Democrats - 197 Republicans who mostly work with the leadership - and 50 Republicans who march to a different drummer. This includes the 48-member House Freedom Caucus. In an earlier procedural vote on Ryan for speaker, 47 voted for Dan Webster and one voted for Marsha Blackburn; both of them are Freedom Caucus members. The reason I drew 50 instead of 48 is that there are a couple House members who choose not to belong to the caucus but hold similar views and sometimes vote as the caucus does.
Why do 50 members of Congress keep acting like they ought to have control? The numbers breakdown isn't the whole story. The most conservative members of Congress are elected by overwhelmingly conservative district.
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