Here’s How Some Democrats May ‘Oppose’ Pelosi But Still Help Her | NTK Network Here’s How Some Democrats May ‘Oppose’ Pelosi But Still Help Her

Here’s How Some Democrats May ‘Oppose’ Pelosi But Still Help Her

These Democrats promised not to vote for Pelosi for speaker, but they can still help her out by employing this tactic in the House.

By NTK Staff | 11.20.2018 @12:45pm
Here’s How Some Democrats May ‘Oppose’ Pelosi But Still Help Her

House Democrats, including a new wave of incoming freshman, are at a crossroads: vote for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to become speaker of the House, or nominate someone else.

Dozens of Democrats on the campaign trail promised to vote for “new leadership” in the House. Sixteen signed a letter Monday pledging their opposition to Pelosi.

At 78 and having led House Democrats since 2003, Pelosi is anything but “new.” Her leadership team isn’t any better. Pelosi’s top lieutenants, Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Jim Clyburn (D-SC) are 79 and 78, respectively.

The main problem for Democrats pining for new leadership is that no one has stepped forward to challenge Pelosi. Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) has gotten the closest, publicly mulling a challenge but not formally announcing anything.

But if Fudge or anyone else does jump in the race, the math is simple: to become speaker, he or she would have to earn 218 votes – a simple majority of the 435 members. However, as Clare Foran and Manu Raju of CNN note, there is a path forward for Pelosi to become speaker with fewer than 218 votes, as well:

Here’s how Pelosi can win with fewer than 218 votes: To become speaker, a person needs to receive an absolute majority of all votes cast for a particular individual during the full floor vote. If someone votes “present,” that doesn’t count as part of the total that determines what constitutes a majority and would instead lower the threshold to reach a majority. If someone is absent or if there is a vacancy that would also lower the majority threshold that Pelosi needs to reach.

For example, if three Democrats vote “present” rather than voting for someone besides Pelosi, that would change the pool of overall votes from 435 (the total number of members in the House of Representatives) to 432 — assuming that all members of the House participate in the vote. That, in turn, would lower the majority threshold below 218.

It’s a way for Democrats who pledged to oppose Pelosi to work out of their promise to voters. They could claim their “present” vote is not a vote for Pelosi, and therefore claim that they are keeping their word.

But in reality, voting “present” may just be a tool to ensure the bar is lowered far enough so that the California Democrat can clear it.

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