Reagan wrote about this earlier today about how the House speakership of Nancy Pelosi could be in danger. The Democratic House majority will be smaller next Congress. Democrats lost seats they weren’t expecting in the 2020 election. Similar disappointment marks how liberal America faired down-ticket this cycle, which puts a huge damper on the national election results. Pelosi surely didn’t expect that members of her delegation from the California suburbs would have to update their resumes come January. So, she really has no cushion for error here. The same goes for any legislation the Democrats want to pass in the lower chamber. A few defections could send the whole process into chaos.
Right now, with the nation still dealing with the coronavirus, it could lead to a situation where the House elects a Republican speaker in Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). Don’t bet the mortgage on this since this is very much pie-in-the-sky territory, but the COVID could be Pelosi’s other enemy to her keeping her leadership position—and one she cannot control (via The Hill):
As Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) seeks the support to keep the gavel for another term, her allies are keeping close watch on a potential wild card that could complicate her path next month: COVID-19.
Pelosi is already facing a much slimmer majority in the next Congress, after Democrats were clobbered at the polls in November, meaning she can afford far fewer Democratic defections than the 15 who opposed her two years ago. And lawmakers must be present on the House floor to cast their vote for Speaker, precluding the option for members to vote remotely, as many have done throughout the pandemic.
A failure of Pelosi to secure support from half the voting members would, at the very least, throw the process into chaos. In the Democrats’ nightmare scenario, the math could tilt so far in the Republicans’ favor that it yields a GOP Speaker.
“Let's say, just theoretically, we had six or eight people out with Covid and the Republicans have none. They probably could elect [Kevin] McCarthy,” said Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), referring to the House GOP leader.
“COVID is a wild card,” said Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.). “If we have sick members who cannot come back, and we only have a four-vote majority, it throws our entire advent of the 117th Congress in peril — a smooth advent.”
I mean, could you imagine if not enough Democrats can vote and the speakership goes to Kevin McCarthy? It would be the final chapter of this nightmare year for sure. It would cause CNN and MSNBC to have meltdowns as well, which sort of makes me want this chaos to unfold. I still think Pelosi keeps her spot. For years, we’ve been told that she could be bumped off and every time she prevails. She’s never faced a virus playing into whether or not she’ll have enough people to vote for her, however. Even then, I still think Pelosi, as horrible as she is, retains the gavel. The best way to boot her is to help the GOP retake the House in 2022.