The following is an excerpt from today’s Politico “Huddle:”
WHAT’S NEXT FOR PAUL RYAN? With Donald Trump continuing to tank in the polls-and seemingly content to take Republican leaders down with him-that leaves a big question on the table: What happens to House Speaker Paul Ryan? Jake, Rachael and Bres break down the options:
-Option 1 (the most likely): Ryan keeps a House majority, but it’s significantly slimmed down– “If Trump loses to Clinton in a landslide, a sizable number of Republicans could go down with him. That would leave Ryan scrambling to round up the votes to keep his gavel. He needs 218 Republicans to vote for him on the floor to become speaker in the next Congress. And while goodwill helped him clear that bar last year, the honeymoon is over,” they report.
And even if he does win the speaker’s gavel, “being in charge of a smaller majority would force Ryan to completely own any deals he cuts with a Clinton White House. That’s certain to create friction in his ranks – and could complicate his political future.”
-Option 2: He leaves Congress- “One theory is that Ryan will step aside if Republicans balk at returning him to the speaker’s chair, or make him jump over impossibly high hurdles to get there. This was never Ryan’s dream job, and he’s unlikely to allow conservatives to twist his arm. ‘Paul will never be taken hostage by those guys,’ said a top GOP lawmaker, speaking on the condition of anonymity.”
Pros and cons: Ryan would lose his current national platform but wouldn’t have to fight many of the battles that come with being a speaker and could use the down time to plug holes in his resumé (assuming he want to run for president in 2020).
-Option 3: Minority Leader- “Ryan’s own predilection is toward incremental progress. His minority would likely consist of 200-odd votes, which would give him a strong hand in negotiations with President Hillary Clinton and [Nancy] Pelosi.” Still, Democrats would need to pick up at least 30 seats to take back the gavel, a tall (but not impossible) order under any election scenario.