Donald Trump's tailspin in the polls and the effect that will have on down-ballot Republicans come Nov. 8 has been a constant source of speculation on both sides of the aisle.
But there's another high-profile, less-talked about politician whose fate is just as assuredly tied to Trump's — Paul Ryan.
Politico examined Ryan's prospects after the election and boiled it down to three likely scenarios:
1. Speaker of a smaller majority;
2. House Minority leader;
3. Leaves Congress.
Figuring Ryan has his sights set on a presidential bid in 2020, none of those is especially appealing but one could stand out as a path to the White House — minority leader.
Fighting against a Hillary Clinton platform while furthering his own by working across the aisle would keep Ryan in the political spotlight and help to repair and nurture his relationship with conservatives in the House, Politico reported.
Otherwise, Ryan is left fighting for a job he might not want in a House with a smaller majority but a bigger percentage of hard-line conservatives who might not want him either.
"You're going to get a very unpopular president … and you're going to have a smaller yet more conservative House majority," a former House leadership staffer told Politico. "And the margin for error for Republican leaders is going to be so, so thin."
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