If there’s one Republican who worries me, it’s House Majority Leader Paul Ryan. I view him as dangerous because he’s an Ayn Rand disciple, a hypocrite and fairly radical… though he hides it well. But he’s also fairly popular among most conservatives, very intelligent, well spoken and extremely calculated. There’s a reason why during the whole debacle over who would replace John Boehner as House Speaker, Ryan was basically the “go-to guy” most of the party would get behind. There’s also a reason why when the “never Trump” movement really began to pick up steam, there were legitimate talks about potentially nominating Ryan if the nomination process made it all the way to the GOP convention in July.
After all, one of the worst kept secrets in politics is that Paul Ryan is going to run for president one day. In fact, had he run this year it’s very likely that he would have run away with the nomination. My theory is that the main reason he didn’t run this year is because most assumed Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic nominee and he wasn’t quite sure he’d be able to beat her. I think if Clinton wins this November, and things are a little rocky heading into 2020, we’ll see Ryan run. However, if things are still going well, I think Ryan waits until 2024. I could be wrong, but I don’t see him running during a year where he doesn’t think there’s a strong chance of him winning.
Again, he’s very intelligent and calculated.
So, while Donald Trump might ultimately be the GOP nominee for president this year, Paul Ryan is still the leader and face of the Republican party.
That’s why his words on Thursday were so important.
In case you hadn’t heard, during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Ryan said he wasn’t ready to endorse or support Trump.
“I am just not ready to do that at this point,” Ryan said.
“What is required is that we unify the party, and I think the bulk of the burden of unifying the party will have to come from our presumptive nominee,” he continued.
Let that sink in for a moment.
A presidential candidate who basically ran away with the nomination, and is on pace to set a new record for votes during a primary, is someone who the de facto leader of the Republican Party isn’t quite ready to support or endorse.
You can’t tell me if Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio or even John Kasich won the nomination, Ryan would have said this. It goes to show you how bad Trump actually is for Republicans and how the party views him.
Not only that, Ryan’s smart enough to know that he doesn’t want to tie himself too much in with Trump because that can backfire on him later on in his political career. He’s only 46, he’s going to be around politics a long time.
If Ryan links himself too closely to a bombastic and toxic Donald Trump, that’s something he can’t just “wash off” later on down the road – especially with as outrageous as I believe we’re about to see Trump behave during the general election.
But Ryan’s words are a reflection of how the party feels about their new presidential nominee. Sure, most are going to rally around him for the “good of the party,” but if you listen to a lot of these “endorsements” from Republicans toward Trump, they usually border on, “Well, he won, so what the hell am I going to do? I’m a Republican.”
Though what’s ultimately going to happen is that Trump’s going to screw over a lot of down-ballot Republicans. That’s why we’re already seeing stories out there where some Republicans who are in races they could lose are distancing themselves from the presumptive nominee.
When you add all of this up, what it tells me is that the GOP is doomed this November and beyond. There’s no way they can link themselves to the eccentric and unpredictable Donald Trump without sinking the whole party. But at the same time, anyone trying to run from him is going to be shunned by a good chunk of Republican voters who are rabidly pro-Trump. Then if he loses this November, and Republicans see huge hits in down-ballot races linked to Trump’s controversial candidacy, I truly feel we’re gong to see a ripple effect spread through the Republican party that’s going to last years.
On one side, you’re going to have the Republicans who will almost certainly say that Trump wasn’t a real Republican, nor does he represent the true values of the party, claiming that’s why the GOP lost. Yet on the other side, you’re going to get the pro-Trump supporters claiming that because the party didn’t fully get behind him, that’s what cost him the election.
And that’ll all go down on top of the fact that if Trump feels he lost largely because the party wasn’t fully behind him, he’ll spend the next few years doing everything he can to try to tear the party apart even more so than he has already.
So, while Paul Ryan’s words weren’t “shocking” or “stunning” – they were most definitely telling. On the heels of a moment where a party should be celebrating their nominee (especially one who was absolutely dominant throughout the entire process), the leader of that party literally said, at this very moment, he’s not sure if he can support or endorse that candidate.
All I have to say is buckle up, the next few months are going to be one hell of a wild ride.