Republicans in the House of Representatives remain in disarray as they attempt to choose a new speaker of the House, the second time this year that the process has devolved into infighting within the GOP. Meanwhile, Democrats have voted in unison under the direction of Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y. Given Jeffries’ unanimous support among Democrats in the closely divided House, speculation has grown that a few Republicans could support the Democratic leader and make Jeffries the new speaker.

Democrats united behind Jeffries as Republicans remain deeply split

The current crisis in the House began in early October when Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., lost a vote to remain speaker due to opposition from Democrats and far-right members of his party. Despite commanding a narrow majority in the House, the GOP has not agreed on a replacement. Early favorite Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., dropped out of the race after failing in his behind-the-scenes effort to get enough Republican support for his selection. The Republican’s second-place choice, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, fell short in a House vote on Tuesday but plans to hold another vote on Wednesday. Democrats, meanwhile, have unanimously supported Jeffries for speaker and have followed his lead since the New York congressman took over the top Democratic position in the House following Nancy Pelosi’s decision to step away from the leadership role.

With Republicans in disarray and growing crises facing Congress, various voices have suggested electing Jeffries as a compromise candidate. As was the case in January before McCarthy eventually won the Speaker role, Jeffries emerged Tuesday as the candidate with the most votes as every Democrat voted for him to become speaker. With the House almost evenly divided, it would only take five Republicans joining the Democrats to elect Jeffries as speaker. As some people have pointed out, 19 of the current House Republicans represent districts that voted for President Biden in 2020, implying that some could support a Democrat without losing their seats in the next election.

Congressional Democrats raise possibility of bipartisan support for Jeffries.

Reps. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y. and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., have implied that Jeffries could be speaker in comments made to The Grio. Jeffries “needs to be in position right now to help save us from ourselves and from this right-wing extremist Republican Party,” Bowman told the outlet. Omar noted, “House Democrats have remained united behind Leader Hakeem Jeffries, who still has more support than any of the Republican candidates,” adding, “If just four Republicans joined in a bipartisan coalition with Democrats, we could get back to the people’s business.”

Some Democrats have been even more explicit. Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., made the case for Speaker Jeffries, tweeting, “The fastest way for Congress to open up again is for 5 people to vote for ⁦Hakeem Jeffries.”

Rep. Robert Garcia, D-Calif., also called on moderate Republicans “to do the right thing and join us to support Hakeem Jeffries for Speaker.”

So far, Jeffries has not signed on to this plan. While he pushed Thursday for a “bipartisan path forward” if Republicans could not “get their act together and elect the speaker from within their own ranks,” he has stated that he is not suggesting himself for the role.

However, whether Jordan pulls together enough Republicans to win the speaker role, the GOP will likely remain in disarray for some time. Suppose some Republicans become desperate enough to cross party lines to solve the leadership crisis within their ranks. In that case, it is still possible Jeffries could emerge as the bipartisan compromise candidate.