The Republican Party is in complete turmoil right now. If you had said just a couple of years ago that none of the establishment favorites like Jeb Bush or Scott Walker would be out the running this early, I think many political experts would have looked at you as if you were crazy.
They would have replied with equal disbelief if someone had told them that the leading candidates were Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, or that Hillary Clinton was facing a strong primary challenge from a self-described “democratic socialist” who wasn’t even a Democrat.
2016 is an unusual year in politics, and both Democrats and Republicans are not only fighting each other, but members of their own parties as well. While Democrats can survive this civil war, Republicans could find themselves ripped apart. Not only is the GOP in danger of being split into multiple factions, down ballot candidates across the country would be hurt by Cruz or Trump as the nominee.
This is why John Kasich has stayed in the race despite being so far behind in delegates. Nobody besides Trump and Cruz has appealed to conservatives, and the GOP finds itself dealing with the results of decades of pandering to the angriest, most religious voters in the country.
To say that Paul Ryan hasn’t seriously considered being president is a joke. I think that almost any politician has at least given it a passing thought, and he wouldn’t have agreed to be Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012 if he didn’t have future aspirations to occupy the Oval Office.
Paul Ryan’s strategy in becoming the GOP nominee is the same one he used to become Speaker of the House. He stood by while other contenders tore each other apart, then played the part of the reluctant savior that House Republicans needed so badly. He repeatedly stated that he didn’t want the job, but then accepted it if they agreed to his terms.
This is the same blueprint I think Paul Ryan is using to angle his way to becoming the Republican nominee. He can’t directly confront the GOP front runners, but he is playing his cards right to be the convention pick and salvage the chances of other candidates around the country.
Unless something drastic happens, Republicans can’t win the White House in 2016. The cards are stacked against them too much, and Trump has alienated almost every single voting bloc. Ted Cruz is equally abhorrent to the establishment which has hated him from the day he was elected to the Senate.
So this is where Paul Ryan comes in to take one for the team one more time. He won’t likely win against Hillary Clinton, but he’s already the leader of the establishment wing of the party. In other words, he doesn’t stand to lose anything and has everything to gain by appearing to be the reluctant savior who will be crucified for the GOP’s political sins.
Ted Cruz and Donald Trump will certainly be outraged if superdelegates and backroom deals make Ryan the nominee. However, the party is in need of a purge while minimizing their losses nationwide and holding on to Congress. Nobody can do that better than Paul Ryan who can be cast as the new and reformed conservative face of the GOP – especially considering his recent speech that tried to soften rhetoric towards people who receive government assistance.
It is a very clever strategy, and I think it will work once again. Paul Ryan isn’t the candidate the Republican Party faithful want, but Paul Ryan is the candidate they desperately need to stay relevant just a little while longer.