What Is Paul Ryan Up To?

While many establishment Republicans would love Paul Ryan to emerge in Cleveland to rescue the party from what they think is a doomed presidential bid, as The Hill reports, some among their number recognize that any effort to take the nomination away from Trump or Cruz, if either goes to Cleveland with far more delegates than anyone else, could hurt the GOP for years.

Having surged from nowhere to "a contender" during March's fiascos, April has seen Speaker Ryan's odds of a nomination decline substantially...

 

But as The Hill asks - What is Paul Ryan up to? Republicans inside and outside the Beltway see the young Speaker and 2012 vice presidential candidate as a shining star for the party and a stronger general election opponent against Hillary Clinton than either Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz. Many would love Ryan to emerge in Cleveland to rescue the party from what they think is a doomed presidential bid.

Still, there are a number of reasons to think that Ryan, a policy wonk who is no wink-and-a-nod politician, has no intention of being the GOP standard-bearer this year.

Rules in place would make it difficult. The GOP’s current rules state that the nominee must win the majority of delegates in at least eight states, a mark that only Trump and Cruz seem able to meet.

 

It’s also possible the real estate mogul could still clinch the nomination by securing the 1,237 delegates required. That would leave little room for anyone to overtake him — and Ryan is a big fan of focusing only on what you can control.

 

More important, Cruz and Trump supporters would be outraged over any effort to take the nomination from their candidate.

 

It could be virtually impossible for a third party to sweep in and become the nominee and then win over the Cruz and Trump crowds. The backlash would leave lasting political scars that could hamper a bid down the road.

 

Tea Party Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) says the speculation about Ryan becoming the nominee is “way overblown. He understands that if he were parachuted in, it would be extremely difficult or impossible to get the support of the grass roots.”

 

Trump has done well because of discontent within the Republican Party. Any effort to take the nomination away from Trump or Cruz, if either goes to Cleveland with far more delegates than anyone else, could hurt the GOP for years.

 

“I would envision pain for years to come,” one Republican said of the possibility.

 

This Republican said the GOP establishment needs a reset, something Ryan seems to realize, given his recent actions. Losing the election in 2016 could help with the reset and set the party up for victories in 2018 and 2020.

A former House leadership aide said this isn’t Ryan’s time.

Asked whether Ryan is trying to jockey for the 2016 nod, the GOP source responded,

“I really don’t think so … he wants to present conservative solutions to everyday problems and show that Republicans in the House can lead and be problem solvers.”

How do you attract attention if you’re not a presidential candidate in an election year? You talk about the race. That’s what Ryan is doing.

  • If his party wins the White House in 2016, Ryan will be positioned to work with a new GOP president on a list of policy goals he’s held since winning his first election to Congress at the age of 28. Ryan can’t afford to have a divisive relationship with Trump or Cruz if either becomes the GOP nominee.
  • If Clinton wins the White House, Ryan will again be his party’s top officeholder and immediately will be seen as a prime contender for the Republican nomination in 2020.

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