If there were ever proof that the Republican Party establishment is packed with elite idealists, the development of Paul Ryan’s public statements that he is not prepared to support his party’s nominee has got to be the most obvious of evidence to be found.
In examining the stakes versus legal realities of the dust up, such that a party needs to control at least one house of Congress in order to have a chance at being effective furthering its agenda, Ryan appears to be taking a big risk with control of the House of Representatives in not supporting the Party’s presidential nominee.
What the supposed upside in the calculation of conducting this sort of public challenge is somewhat of a mystery, to me at least. If one is going to have a power struggle with the nominee, the prudent time to do it is as early as possible while there is still a party. But I haven’t been able rationalize anything to be gained by it other than perhaps preserving the position of the elites through protest and refusal to cooperate until some sort of deal is struck because they have almost nothing to bargain with other than control of Congress itself.
Milton Friedman said that the reality of politics means that getting things done is not about parties, but rather, it’s about getting the wrong people to do the “right” things by making it politically profitable to do them. Trump has chosen to campaign on traditional Democratic populist themes and is far enough into the political center that he likely doesn’t need the party elite to get into office. At least, it is still possible. Once there, he could and would work with the Democrats or any other willing individuals in Congress, because the entire point of the exercise is getting the desired results enacted or as close to the desired results as possible. There is plenty of room to argue about what the “right” things to enact might be, but I am sure you get my point that if the Republican elites don’t support the nominee or possible future President, it will not impact him very much, nor endanger anything regarding our system of government. It simply does not matter who does the voting in Congress, as long as the votes are there.
So, here’s an easy strategy for Trump supporters to follow to ensure that the elites end up on the wrong side of the gamble: vote Trump for president and Trump supporters for Congress, House and Senate, regardless of party. Come on, Democrats, I know you believe in sticking it to the robber barons who enrich themselves at the expense of average working people everywhere, even those in foreign countries, that Trump says he wants to curb. People like Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House, and Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader in the Senate, ARE the poster children for out of touch elitism that has eaten the working class alive from the inside out, and the more irrelevant they are after the vote in November, the better.
PS: In my list of priorities, small ‘d’ democrat philosophy comes first. The party voted in free and fair balloting. Trump won. And this isn’t about ideas. Not supporting the nominee is turning a deaf ear to the voters and caucus-goers, and thus dances along the border of legitimacy especially after having spent the majority of the last decade being as useful as boobs on a boar, and certainly in no harmless fashion.