Ryan’s future is still shaky after refusing to support Trump over Clinton.
In a voice vote among the Republican Caucus, Paul Ryan won the GOP Conference leadership election for Speaker on Tuesday, and many outlets reported as if Ryan is going to walk back into the speaker’s chair in January.
But Ryan’s vote of confidence among the conference doesn’t tell the whole story.
So far, Ryan has dodged a bullet with the election of Mr. Trump. If Mr. Trump had lost to Hillary Clinton, Mr. Ryan certainly would’ve assumed the lion’s share of the blame. Trump’s win has gifted Mr. Ryan with a Republican love fest and a second chance with Mr. Trump and conservatives.
That Ryan won by voice vote, a vote tactic leadership often uses to avoid the appearance of dissent, is noteworthy. In January Paul Ryan will need 218 votes from the whole House to win. That he will be able to leap that hurdle in January is not a given.
Politico, a friend to the establishment GOP reports:
“House Republicans on Tuesday afternoon unanimously nominated Paul Ryan for a second term as Speaker. The GOP conference gave the Wisconsin Republican voice-vote approval, forgoing a secret ballot tally that would have shown how many Republicans oppose Ryan leading the chamber.
The vote sends a strong signal of GOP unity under President-Elect Donald Trump and puts to rest speculation that Ryan’s speakership is in jeopardy. Ryan told the conference during a closed-door meeting Tuesday that he and the current leadership regime have the support of Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence, according to a source in the room.
Ryan still must win a floor vote in January to officially retain his gavel. That will require him to garner the support of a majority of the House, typically 218 Republicans — giving him little wiggle room with his conference.
Ryan ran unopposed for the post.”
To dive into Politico’s spin, Ryan uses a sly tactic like a voice vote to avoid the appearance of weakness. Win a voice vote and magically he’s bulletproof coming out the other side!.
The fact that Ryan needs to put on this show of Kabuki theater doesn’t exactly portend smooth sailing for Ryan.
Republicans lost 6 seats in the House on November 8, dropping their caucus total to 239 seats. Ryan can only afford to lose 22 Republicans on a floor vote before he drops below that 218 threshold required to avoid a second vote in January.
In October of 2015, 9 House Republicans voted against Ryan, but earlier that year, 25 Republicans voted against Speaker Boehner in a clear show of disapproval of the direction the establishment
Reports indicate the number of dissidents could rise to as many as 14 by January, and it’s not hard to see that number rising more if Ryan jams through Obama-style legislation during the lame-duck.
Many Republicans are still upset over Ryan’s conduct during the Presidential campaign, when he actively worked against Donald Trump by refusing to defend him or campaign for him until very late.
Had Trump lost, many grassroots conservatives would have pointed the finger at Ryan for sabotaging the campaign.
Other conservatives are wary of Ryan’s support of globalist immigration and trade.
Trump won on an “America First” platform, but Ryan puts the interests of the donor class and global elites ahead of American citizens with his cheer leading for open borders, international trade deals, and foreign wars.
Still, the odds favor Ryan’s re-election as Speaker.
Ryan claimed he spoke with Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who told him that he and Trump were supportive of the GOP leadership team.
Trump can afford to be gracious in victory, and extending a warm hand to Ryan could payoff in January when it comes time to implement the policies President-elect Trump campaigned on.
While Ryan may oppose Trump’s platform, rank-and-file GOP voters have given Mr. Trump a mandate to implement his populist policy platform.
Trump’s decision to stand on the sidelines in a leadership election could help smooth over bruised feelings and encourage Ryan to act as a team player when Congress reconvenes in January. It’s the old “trust but verify” approach.
But conservatives and Americans concerned about the U.S. economy should always distrust Ryan. He has continually sold out their values during his two-decade career in Congress.
The effort to hold Ryan accountable for his bad habit of selling out Americans shouldn’t stop because of a silly voice vote behind closed doors.