Since it has become painfully obvious that the entire Republican Party is occupying a first class cabin on the Trump Titanic, could House Speaker Paul Ryan pilot a lifeboat large enough to rescue all the doomed passengers?
Before exploring an answer to that question, let’s put Donald Trump’s firing of campaign manager Corey Lewandowski into some political perspective: never in U.S. history has a presumptive nominee of a major party fired his campaign manager a month before the national nominating convention. And, never in modern political history has a major party’s presidential campaign ever been so broke.
As reported in the Washington Examiner:
At least 76 members of Congress have more cash on hand than Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Trump began June with $1.3 million on hand, more than $40 million less than Hillary Clinton.
Even Paul Ryan has $7.6 million in his war chest!
These facts speak volumes about the dire state of the Trump Titanic and fuels the ever-so-slight possibility of a convention coup d’état. But you can’t have a coup without a leader. Conceivably that compromise leader could still be Speaker Ryan, especially after he instructed Trump-reluctant GOP elected officials to “follow your conscience.”
Here is why I have a small glimmer of hope that Ryan could win the nomination after a delegate uprising.
Last week while Trump was imploding, and well before Trump fired the controversial Lewandowski, I asked a leading Republican strategist (name withheld upon request) if there was any chance Ryan could win the nomination at the GOP convention. He told me about all the required rule changes, “So that would take an organized mutiny.” Then he added, “If it did take shape Ryan, is the only fully vetted and liked candidate that hasn’t pissed off the current delegates.” [Emphasis added]
That reasoning is exactly why the convention delegates might possibly turn to Ryan. After all, these are desperate times with GOP control of the White House, Senate, House, and Supreme Court all slowly slipping away. At risk is the future of the conservative movement accelerated by the party’s ongoing identity crisis and branding meltdown.
Today it is apparent that the status of Republican efforts to win back the White House is best described by the nuclear war equivalent of “Def Con 1.” This crisis designation reflects that a month before the convention the presumptive nominee has virtually no organization, no fundraising, no ads, and no issue knowledge. Worse, he has managed to alienate key demographic groups such as women and Hispanic voters by margins that spell DISASTER. The state of Trump’s presidential campaign is even worse than Def Con 1, it is a zombie campaign apocalypse!
Given all that, if, at the convention, Ryan suddenly garners a groundswell of delegate support, he would first need to address his April 12 press conference where he defiantly said, “Let me be clear. I do not want, nor will I accept, the nomination for our party.” Yes, that would be a major flip-flop, but, during the convention that statement would be over three months old — ancient times by political clocks when a five-second gaffe can instantly change the direction of an entire campaign.
There is no doubt that such a course correction is desperately needed now that the Trump Titanic has hit the iceberg, and at the helm is an inadequate candidate who would be hard pressed to win a big city mayoral race.
Even if there is an outside chance that Trump’s delegates are persuaded to abandon ship, Ryan will be in an extremely awkward position to rise up and become the nominee. This awkwardness is not due to Ryan’s status as the highest ranking Republican official, 2012 VP candidate, and de facto leader of the Republican Party, but once again, as he was in 2012, Ryan is chairman of the Republican National Convention. Thus, if a miraculous mutiny were to occur, Ryan would be tasked with piloting the lifeboat and rescuing the passengers from the Trump Titanic while standing on the convention stage!
Fortunately, among those passengers is another powerful leader, Ryan’s close friend and fellow Wisconsinite RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. And, because of their unique relationship, if the moment is right, Priebus could be instrumental in helping to marshal the forces needed to facilitate Ryan’s daring political rescue out of love for country and party.
To inject a dose of reality into this political fantasy, I asked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich about Ryan’s nomination prospects. Here’s his response:
The idea of replacing someone who got the most votes in history (6 million more than Cruz) with someone who never ran is simply impossible. The 13 million Trump voters would yell theft. An aggressive, articulate billionaire would spend the rest of the year in total rebellion. He might even win the write-in (vote). The phony nominee would be humiliated.
OK, with those words I am totally convinced that all loyal non-loving Trump Republicans must learn to accept a free cruise on the Trump Titanic. And now it is time to pray — “For nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37)
Cross-posted at RedState