Sarah Palin said in an interview with CNN’s Jack Tapper that she will work to destroy Paul Ryan’s political career by endorsing Ryan’s primary opponent in Wisconsin. She stated that her decision to campaign aginst Ryan stemmed from his refusal to support her golden-haired meal ticket, Donald Trump, after he became the Republican presumptive nominee.
I think Paul Ryan is soon to be ‘Cantored,’ as in Eric Cantor,” Palin said, referring to the former Republican House majority leader who was ousted in a shocking upset in 2014 when challenger Dave Brat ran to his right in a Virginia primary.
In August, Ryan’s up for reelection in his home state of Wisconsin. His primary opponent, Paul Nehlen, came out to support Trump after Ryan announced that he will not support Trump “at this time.”
If Mr. Trump is the nominee, I will support that decision, because it will have been the will of the voters that got him there,” the Republican challenging Ryan for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District seat in the state’s August primary said in a statement.
Paul Ryan is right at the head of a small group of party elites who continue to tell the American people they know better,” Nehlen said. “He’s demonstrated that he’s not the unifier he claims. If he were a unifier, he would look for ways to work with the candidate that the American people have chosen in state after state.
It’s clear that he’s right out in front of the establishment’s #OnlyMe team. The people have spoken,” he said. “But Paul Ryan somehow thinks that the People are incompetent and that GOP elites should step in and guide them. The last time I checked, we lived in a representative republic. Paul Ryan seems to think we’re living in an oligarchy.
Palin made it clear that she intends to help kill Ryan’s political career.
His political career is over but for a miracle because he has so disrespected the will of the people, and as the leader of the GOP, the convention, certainly he is to remain neutral, and for him to already come out and say who he will not support is not a wise decision of his,” Palin continued.
Ryan’s announcement highlights what many have framed as a growing “Civil War” inside the Republican Party. Numerous establishment Republicans have refused to support Trump no matter what, with several prominent figures planning to boycott the 2016 GOP convention in Cleveland.
Palin speculated that Ryan’s decision stems from his selfish political ambition. She believes he wants to seek the White House in 2020.
If the GOP were to win now, that wouldn’t bode well for his chances in 2020, and that’s what he’s shooting for,” Palin said.
In truth, while Ryan has repeatedly ruled out running in 2016, he’s not said the same about a White House bid in 2020. However, he did tell CNN’s Dana Bash last October that if he did desire to run, 2016 would have been his year to do it.
After Nehlen had come out to support Trump, Palin said, “I will do whatever I can for Paul Nehlen.”
This man is a hard-working guy, so in touch with the people,” Palin said. “Paul Ryan and his ilk, their problem is they have become so disconnected by the people whom they are elected to represent.
She added: “They feel so threatened at this point that their power, their prestige, their purse will be adversely affected by the change that is coming with Trump and with someone like Paul Nehlen, that they’re not thinking straight right now.
While Trump’s plan to use Palin to unseat Paul Ryan may seem like a smart political move, the chances of it succeeding are questionable at best. Paul Ryan’s popularity was measured in a statewide poll taken in Wisconsin in late March. Among GOP voters, he was viewed favorably by 76 percent and unfavorably by 14 percent. His unfavorable rating did go up by from 2014 and 2015 by nine points shortly after becoming House Speaker.
However, Ryan’s still very popular in a state in which Trump may not have enough influence. Trump lost Wisconsin to Texas Senator Ted Cruz in April by over 12 points.
A possible key could be Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s endorsement. It’s no secret that Walker’s on the short list as a potential Trump VP pick. Should the popular governor come out against Ryan, it could make things very interesting, however at this point, Walker has only begrudgingly given his support to Trump after he became the presumptive nominee. And there are no indications that Walker will not support Ryan.
As things stand today, the political civil war within the GOP will only get more intense, with primary challengers and incumbents taking different sides regarding their support of Donald Trump and his policies. With the fate of the Congress, the presidency and most importantly the political direction of the country hanging in the balance, 2016 could be the most one of the most important political years in generations.