On June 2, 2016, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan made the critical error of officially endorsing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. While this decision was one devoid of morals and marked Ryan’s departure from true conservatism — as Trump is a populist and an opportunist — it was also a horribly poor career decision.
With Trump’s polling numbers as low as they are — accompanied with new revelations about his 1995 tax returns that suggest that he may not have paid federal taxes for 18 years and the highly controversial Billy Bush tape being released that shows Trump bragging about his star power allowing him the opportunity to grope women at will — it appears more and more likely that Hillary Clinton will defeat Trump in the general election.
However, Trump’s probable defeat will not mark the end of his grip on Republican politics. Trump is such a uniquely poor presidential nominee that Democrats will be able to hold the fact that their Republican counterparts endorsed Trump over their heads for years, even if they revoked this endorsement after the release of the Bush tape.
Quite possibly, no one will be more hurt by his endorsement of Trump than Paul Ryan. Over and over, before and after Ryan’s endorsement of Trump, the presidential candidate has proven himself to be an enemy of Ryan’s stated conservative principles, along with being dually bigoted and sexist.
Even after this past Friday’s release of the Billy Bush tape, unlike so many of his counterparts in the Republican Party, while Ryan has condemned Trump and refused to appear with him publicly, he has yet to revoke support of the controversial nominee. His failure to do so less than a month before election day, after thousands of early votes and absentee ballots have already been cast, is mind-boggling and proves that he is not the conservative champion that so many in the Republican Party have pegged him as.
A year ago, Ryan was an absolute star in the Republican party, having practically been forced into the Speaker of the House position after being seen as the only option that could satisfy both the extreme Tea-party conservatives and moderates of the Republican Party.
While it was already certain that Ryan would not be running in the 2016 presidential election, he was certainly building the political capital for a future bid for the White House.
Yet, his endorsement of Trump could be the decision that keeps him out of the presidency. Not only does this endorsement make him look ideologically void, but his general handling of this presidential election has been shockingly weak. Democrats will feast on this weakness for years to come.