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Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House

Nancy Pelosi’s Speaker Job in Peril with Republican Gains in House

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Nov. 5 2020, Updated 12:12 p.m. ET

Although the winner of the presidential race is still undetermined, one thing is clear: Republicans are gaining in the House of Representatives. Although Democrats had hoped to increase their majority in the House and regain the Senate, the opposite is happening. With Republican gains in the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi may be in danger of losing her position as Speaker.

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Pelosi Wasn’t Picked Unanimously Among Democrats

Although it’s traditional form for a party to unanimously support their pick for Speaker, that did not happen with Pelosi. The moderate wing of the Democrat party had to wheedle and deal with the progressive wing in order to advance Pelosi’s nomination. 

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Pelosi has served as Speaker before. Once the Democrats gained majority in the House after the 2018 midterms, she and moderate Democrats were eager to return the gavel to her. However, progressives immediately raised a cry and hue. 

After the 2018 midterms, Per CNN, “At the end of November, she secured the nomination to become speaker by winning support from a majority of House Democrats — a total of 203 votes in closed-door leadership elections. But she came up slightly short of the total 218 votes typically needed to win the speakership in the final January vote.

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To become Speaker requires the support of a majority of all members of the House who are present and voting, a threshold that could be as high as 218 votes. It would be possible for Pelosi to win with fewer votes, as several previous House speakers have, if some members vote present or decline to participate.

Ahead of the final vote, Pelosi deployed her deal-making abilities to win over detractors, and by mid-December, she appeared to have secured the votes necessary to prevail after negotiating an agreement with some of the Democrats who had been lobbying to block her from the speakership. As part of the agreement, Pelosi backed a proposal to enact term limits for the party’s top three leaders.”

Republicans Make Inroads Against Democrat Majority in 2020 Election

Nancy Pelosi speaking

So far, the 2020 election has been favorable for House Republicans. As of now, Democrats have conceded 5 seats to them, and Independents have conceded 1. In a year where Democrats hoped to walk away with a blue tidal wave, the House losses sting. 

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It remains likely that Democrats will retain majority in the House, but with fewer Democrats to rally, Speaker Pelosi could potentially lose her position, although she would retain her seat. 

A Difficult Prospect

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Per Fox News, “House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said the erosion of the Democratic majority could spell trouble for Pelosi getting enough votes to be reelected speaker and predicted she’ll struggle to get her agenda passed.

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‘I know the vote on the floor is difficult for Speaker. I know there was a number of people who did not vote for her last time,’ McCarthy said Wednesday, alluding to Democratic defectors two years ago. ‘And as our numbers continue to grow, I think at the end of the day, no matter where we end up, we’ll be able to have a very big say, or even run the floor when it comes to policy.'”

Democrats disagree. Fox shares, “The last person to know anything about the dynamics in our caucus is McCarthy, who today held a press conference to concede he wouldn’t be speaker yet again,’ a senior Democratic aide told Fox News. ‘Members will stick with who brought them to the majority in the first place. The floor vote is a choice between Pelosi and McCarthy – an easy one for Democrats.'”

Time for the End of the Pelosi Era?

Nancy Pelosi walking

Although Democrats dismiss the idea that Pelosi would lose the Speakership, it’s clear Republicans have renewed hope. With an uncertain presidential outcome, Republicans are currently having the more favorable year as House gains rack up and they are poised to retain majority in the Senate. With a divided Congress, whoever wins the presidency will struggle to make any significant progress with their agenda. 

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