No matter what happens, a majority of congressional Republicans — even some hardcore conservatives — want Ryan to stay on as Speaker for another two years. And no credible challenger has emerged to take him on in the internal leadership elections slated for Nov. 15, despite heavy criticism toward Ryan from both Trump and Steven Bannon, the Breitbart News executive who is the Trump campaign chairman.
It’s also hard to imagine who else but Ryan could come close to securing the 218 votes needed to be elected Speaker.
But others are predicting the Wisconsin Republican may step down from the top job after the election to spare his party from a bloody, post-election GOP civil war with Trump and his loyalists. Some Ryan allies point out that this was not a job the former Ways and Means and Budget chairman even wanted in the first place, and that the idea of Ryan walking away from the speakership isn’t inconceivable.
Still, it would represent a stunning move for Ryan, Mitt Romney’s 2012 running mate and a possible future presidential candidate who’s regarded as the “intellectual leader” of the party. After much cajoling, Ryan reluctantly was sworn into the top job in Congress just one year ago Saturday after then-Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) suddenly resigned and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) dropped out of the race to succeed him.