House Republicans held their conference leadership elections.
The results were major news.
But do they tell the whole story about Paul Ryan’s future?
In order to proceed to a vote on the House floor – where 218 votes are required to win – a candidate for Speaker of the House must win a majority of votes from their party’s conference.
Republicans held a conference wide vote on leadership positions.
And Paul Ryan won the unanimous backing of his conference.
“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.”
But that doesn’t mean it’s exactly smooth sailing for Ryan.
Republicans lost 6 seats in the House, reducing their majority to 239 seats.
That means Ryan can only afford to lose 22 Republicans on a floor vote.
In 2015, 9 House Republicans voted against Ryan.
And there are reports that number could increase to as many as 14 this time.
Some conservatives are still upset over Ryan’s conduct during the Presidential campaign.
He actively worked against Donald Trump by cutting the nominee loose and refusing to defend him.
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, trade, and foreign policies.
Trump won the election on the theme of “America First”.
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.
In victory, Trump can afford to be gracious, and extending a warm hand to Ryan could payoff in January when it comes time to implement the policies Trump campaigned on.
While Ryan may oppose those policies, they are fully supported by rank-and-file GOP voters who backed Trump and his populist policy platform.
Standing 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.
Conservatives will always be mistrustful of Ryan – he has continually sold out their values and policies throughout his career in Congress, but there is no candidate to replace Ryan as Speaker, and President-elect Trump can afford to offer Ryan a second chance to get on board with implementing his agenda.