Here's How The Speaker Of The House Gets Chosen — And It's Not Always A Smooth Process

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Reclaiming control over the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterms was a major success for the Democrats, but the party has a lot of work facing it now. One of the biggest tasks will be selecting the new speaker of the House, to replace outgoing Republican Speaker Paul Ryan. The process of choosing a Speaker of the House isn't always an easy or smooth one, though, and it's currently looking like the Democrats might have a bumpy road ahead of them.

The speaker is the person who leads both the House of Representatives and his or her own party, which is always the majority party, according to the archives of the House of Representatives. The speaker plays several important formal roles, including officially nominating the chairs of all of the committees and bringing motions to the House floor for debates and voting, per the House of Representatives Office of the Clerk.

The speaker is chosen through a vote on the House floor, where the person must receive a majority of the votes, the Office of the Clerk explained. However, prior to that vote, the majority party makes its own selection for speaker of the House in a caucus only among its own members, according to the House of Representatives website.

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The current Democratic leader in the House is Nancy Pelosi, the House Minority Leader. She has served as speaker of the House before, and she announced her intention to bid for the position again the day after the election, as USA Today wrote. However, she will have to collect a majority of her party's votes — and there's no guarantee at the moment that she'll be able to do that.

There is an undercurrent of opposition to Pelosi among House Democrats, as Vox described, but no one has explicitly declared him or herself an opponent to Pelosi in her bid for speaker. According to CNN, Pelosi's critics believe that they have enough support to prevent her from getting a majority of the votes in the House.

"I am 100 percent confident we can forge new leadership," Texas Rep. Filemon Vela of Texas told CNN. Ohio representative and Former Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Marcia Fudge said she was considering throwing her name in, although she didn't officially declare it, according to Politico.

Pelosi does have a lot of support as well, though, from both House Democrats and onlookers alike.

"Nancy Pelosi has been an effective national leader, an architect of the recent midterm success and a great partner in the fight against gerrymandering," wrote former Attorney General Eric Holder on Twitter, for example. "She’s been successful-that’s why she’s a target of the right wing. She should be the next Speaker of the House."

There have even been accusations of sexism, noting that Pelosi's position is being attacked after she orchestrated a major victory, while Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer kept his position without any issue after the Democrats failed to take the Senate.

"It is amazing, really. @ChuckSchumer loses in the Senate and keeps his leadership role and @NancyPelosi makes the biggest democratic gain in the House since Watergate and they want her to quit," wrote tennis legend Martina Navratilova on Twitter. "Go figure. A man loses and keeps his place, a woman wins and gets booted?!?"