Paul Ryan Retires, leaving Speakership wide open


Maxwell Plummer, Staff Writer

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan recently announced he would not seek re-election to the House of Representatives. This wasn’t particularly surprising to political insiders, as rumors had abounded for months before his announcement, despite Ryan denying the rumors as recently as December.

With Ryan leaving, the question of who will become Speaker is one that isn’t easy to predict. If Republicans keep the House, they will likely have to decide between House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.

McCarthy had a previously failed bid for the speakership in 2015 when it was made clear that a Conservative faction of the House would block him. Scalise has gained prominence last year after recovering from being shot at a congressional baseball practice. Though he has said he won’t run against McCarthy, it’s expected he would run if McCarthy had another failed bid.

Overall, the differences in their governing style might not be all that different. According to FiveThirtyEight, Scalise votes with the Trump agenda 100 percent of the time and McCarthy votes with it 98.6 percent of the time. It’s unlikely that either of them will be very different from the rubber stamp that Ryan has placed on the Trump agenda—a regret that may have led to his retirement.

Of course, this is all assuming that Republicans even keep control of the upper chamber after the midterm elections, which is looking increasingly unlikely.

If Democrats end up winning the House, it’s very likely that Nancy Pelosi will become speaker, unless anti-Pelosi sentiment rises among Democratic House members and candidates over the next few months.

63 Democrats voted against her bid for minority leader in 2016, though many of those may not do so if Pelosi leads them to a majority in the fall, with the possibility that the Democratic majority could only be of a few seats, it may not take very many members to oust her. Though there is not current challenger who seems to have the support as a unifying anti-Pelosi speaker candidate.