Paul Ryan, who has largely been out of the public eye since retiring from the House, is now suddenly putting himself out there. His message: the Republican Party needs to move beyond Donald Trump in order to become viable again. Ryan is correct, given that the toxically unpopular Trump’s presence cost the Republicans a lot in 2018 and 2020, and Trump is in danger of screwing up 2022 and 2024 for the Republicans as well.
But why is Paul Ryan even bothering? If he truly cared about the direction of the Republican Party, he’d have remained in the House and tried to fight against Trump during his final two years. Instead Ryan ran for the hills.
Here’s why Paul Ryan is back. Conservative donors know that if Trump remains a factor in politics, he’ll keep costing the Republicans elections. So the donors are trotting out their mouthpiece Paul Ryan to beg the Republican voting base to move on from Trump’s ghost. It just shows how screwed they all are, and how screwed they know they all are.
It’s probably not a coincidence that the Paul Ryan puppet is being activated like this just days after we all learned that Donald Trump is in the process of being criminally indicted. The Republicans are facing a nightmare scenario where Trump is arrested sometime this year and ends up on criminal trial next year, during the height of the 2022 midterms.
The people in the middle won’t want to vote for the Republicans in 2022 when the face of their party is a guy who’s just been convicted at trial and sentenced to prison. Worse, a desperate Trump will surely use the publicity of his trial to demand that Republican candidates all swear their loyalty to him, at a time when Republican candidates in moderate districts and states will be trying to run away from him. We’re looking at a nightmare for the GOP – and Paul Ryan’s puppet masters can clearly see it coming.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report