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My understanding is that, under the current rules, any single house member can force a vote on removing the (Republican) House Speaker, including any Democrat.

Should this happen, a very few Republicans, if annoyed enough with their own side, could team up with the Democrats to remove the current speaker. Is this actually the case?

Under what circumstances might it be beneficial to the Democrats to do this?

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    "Under what circumstances might it be beneficial to the Democrats to do this?" This might be a bit speculative. In politics, it's often not so clear what is beneficial and what is not and one needs to wait to see what comes out of it. In this special case, Democrats surely would have to factor in that removing a speaker doesn't necessarily result in a better next speaker. It still might be somewhat beneficial. The opposite already happened last year, A few Republicans, annoyed with their own side, ousted their speaker and Democrats didn't team up with the other Republicans to prevent this. Feb 15 at 7:33
  • The factual part of the question is if any House member can by him/herself force a vote on removing the speaker (a motion to vacate?) under the current rules and it will be answered by either yes or no. Feb 15 at 7:36
  • Does this answer your question? Can the Speaker of the House of Representatives be replaced? - This answers the factual part, the rest is speculative.
    – Stuart F
    Feb 19 at 15:16
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    @StuartF Not really, no, or at least the answer is not obvious from all of those (it's possible the answer could be dug out from all the details there). I find it a bit ironic that I'm directed to a much more general question after this question about a much more specific situation, time and process is closed due to "lack of focus." At any rate, the answer that got in here before the question was closed does answer my question.
    – cjs
    Feb 20 at 13:32
  • Currently it looks more like the moderate Republicans and Democrats team up in the House to support the speaker, rather than the extreme wings of both parties teaming up. yesterday

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Yes, your understanding is correct, although the reality of Washington politics means that it's unlikely to happen.

... under the current rules, any single house member can force a vote on removing the (Republican) House Speaker, including any Democrat.

Quoting from this article from when this happened to McCarthy last year (emphasis mine):

The motion to vacate is the House’s procedure to remove its speaker. The chamber’s current rules allow any one member, Democrat or Republican, to introduce the motion.

...

This was a change from the rules in place under [McCarthy's] Democratic predecessor, Nancy Pelosi, when a majority of one party needed to support a motion to vacate to bring it to the floor.

The reason this won't happen is a practical one. Under normal circumstances, the minority party could force a vote, but as discussed in this answer, there's no point when you can assume the majority will vote against it. After all, by definition they make up the majority of the House, which is enough to cause the vote to fail if they all vote together.
On the flip side, if you have members of the majority party who are willing to vote against the current speaker, then it's better for them to be the one to initiate the vote (for reasons that will sound good to their base) instead of just tagging along with the minority. After all, "supporting a Democratic motion" has very different optics from "taking a principled stance that just happens to have Democratic support".

So the only circumstances where the Democrats might expect to succeed in removing the speaker are when they have a commitment from enough Republicans to form a combined majority of their own, and as soon as you have that commitment, you now have a Republican who can raise the issue.

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  • Ok. So to be clear, the Republican party-folks/voters/etc. are (probably) going to treat a vote to remove the speaker as just as "bad"as bringing a vote to remove the speaker? It doesn't make any difference that if you are the one to make the vote happen in the first place, you might be seen as a "ringleader"?
    – cjs
    Feb 15 at 12:14
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    @cjs It's hard to prove one way or the other - there's only the single example of Matt Gaetz and opinions on him. But "supporting a Democratic motion" has very different optics from "taking a principled stance that just happens to have Democratic support".
    – Bobson
    Feb 15 at 12:47
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    Ah, now that you put it that way, I see the advantages of a Republican introducing this motion.
    – cjs
    Feb 15 at 13:21

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