By Sharon Jones
Last Thursday, Paul Ryan stated that he was “just not ready” to throw his support behind Donald Trump. With his pronouncement on Monday the 9th that he will not chair the Republican National Convention if Donald Trump asks, he is subtly sowing the seeds of what is possibly the best political strategy in the GOP at this time. Most likely, he never will be ready to support Trump unless The Donald makes serious progress in the general election and starts polling ahead of Hillary Clinton.
He has left that door open by saying, “I have never said never. I just said (not) at this point.” He further elaborated, “I just want to get to know the guy… We just don’t know each other.” If he can get Trump to ask him not to chair the Republican National Convention, he could buy himself the time to get to know Trump only if it matters.
If Trump continues to alienate various groups, including women, Hispanics and African Americans, and, in turn, lose the general election, Paul Ryan has made himself look like the prescient one that can restore and heal the Republican Party. In the process, he can also turn himself into a figure more important than just being the Speaker of the House. Very likely he becomes the main hope to be the next Presidential nominee.
Even though Donald Trump has begrudgingly agreed to meet with Speaker Ryan, it doesn’t mean they will “get to know each other” this early in the process. It is always very easy to say, “I am still not sure.”
Speakers of the House of Representatives don’t historically make it into the Presidential election. The last, and only, Speaker elected to the office of President was James K. Polk in 1844. For some reason, the person third in the line of succession to the Presidency never seems to make it beyond that office.
This time could be different. With semi-crazy Sarah Palin announcing her intent to unseat Ryan and the potential of an election disaster for the Republicans, Ryan could be conducting the perfect orchestra to trumpet in his coronation in four years and look moderate while doing it. Yes, Speaker Ryan has indicated previously that he would not seek the nomination in the case of a brokered Republican Convention this year, and that in itself was brilliant. Let it all fall apart now in order to be the one that fixes it later.
Paul Ryan, a devotee of Ayn Rand, isn’t exactly a moderate except when compared against the Tea Party crazies that coopted the House and Senate as their personal asylums. A previous Tea Party darling due to his budgetary stances, Ryan has taken on a more establishment tone in his new position. It might just be that if this election year is crazy enough and disastrous enough for the Republicans, many of them might welcome a return to anything that even looks like the establishment in the future.
One of the best gauges for how the 2016 election is looking for the Republican Party, will be whether or not Speaker Ryan throws his support behind Donald Trump. If he doesn’t, know he is posturing for four years out, when he can be the one who unites the party against Hillary Clinton.
It might be the only thought out strategy in a political party that otherwise doesn’t currently have one.
Sharon Jones is a contributor to zenruption's political and life sections. We think she is a strategic genius. Her strategic thinking also comes in very handy when needing to structure team happy hour meetings around inexpensive drinks.
Feature photo courtesy of Flickr, under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license