Paul Ryan gets ready for Trump fallout

By Philip Noble 10/26/16

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and House Republicans are bracing for a shellacking in the aftermath of the presidential election, no matter which candidate for our nation’s top office is victorious. Ryan has held a tenuous relationship with Republican nominee Donald Trump since the Republican National Convention, unable to decide whether or not to lend his support to the controversial candidate.

Ryan did endorse Trump for the presidency this summer, but he has since condemned him in the aftermath of a leaked videotape where the presidential candidate openly bragged about sexually assaulting women. Mr. Ryan has not, however, rescinded his endorsement of Trump, resulting in a confused Republican congress and an electorate hungry for establishment blood.

Some in the far right of the party, especially the House Freedom Caucus, have floated the idea of challenging Ryan for the Speaker position. While they admit that the odds of kicking Ryan out of the House’s top spot are very long indeed, they say that a challenge would send a message to their party’s establishment that they cannot simply ignore their base and express whatever political views are convenient for holding on to power.

Other Republicans stressed the importance of remaining unified in the face of what could be a more powerful Democratic Party, and the looming specter of a potentially disastrous Presidential loss. “I’m convinced the last thing we need to be doing is dividing the party especially when on any ballot the overwhelming majority will be for Ryan” said Rep. Peter King of New York.

According to CNN, congressional Republicans are preparing for heavy losses in the House this November, although they do not expect to lose control of the house entirely. Even if they do retain a majority, their power would be severely restricted if they lose as heavily as many Republicans think they could, going from 247 House seats to around 230.

Many of those seats are held by more moderate Republicans, and losing them could strengthen the far right faction which opposes Speaker Ryan, hamstringing his ability to maneuver politically, and potentially forcing the party even further to the right.

Despite the potential opposition, many Republicans expressed support for Ryan. Oklahoma Republican Tom Cole argued that Ryan deserved credit for the work he has done to keep the party afloat, describing any blame on Ryan for the parties woes as “amazingly disingenuous.” “He developed a platform for us to run on, and he’s given people something to talk about besides the presidential race,” said Cole.

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