Paul Ryan announced that he’s not running for re-election. This was not a surprise. Ryan has been in Congress since 1999. He became Speaker in 2015 when John Boehner resigned. Boehner had lost the confidence of his caucus. Ryan was the only choice to hold the fractured Republicans together. It was clear that he did not want the job.
Ryan has achieved one of the two planks he’s spent a career trying to achieve: tax reform. Entitlement reform evaporated from the docket this year due to Trump tantrums. Ryan has three children on the brink of their teenage years. He’d prefer babysitting them than the President. He also does not want to take the blame for a massive blue wave.
It’s becoming clear that Republicans are going to lose in November. They are going to lose big. This only increases the odds that you might see Nancy Pelosi or Steny Hoyer take the gavel. Ryan was a huge fundraiser for vulnerable Republicans, which is now less effective. The focus shifts from battles for leadership positions instead of saving vulnerable seats. Even Ryan’s safe seat is now vulnerable. The D has $2.3 million while Ryan had $10 million in the bank. A new Republican starts at zero. Ryan has exacted revenge on the party for his forced-Speakership.
Internal polling must be a bloodbath. As of today, 43 Republicans are retiring, resigned, or are running for other offices. Democrats only need a pick-up of 24 seats to retake the House. Republicans hold 246 seats while Democrats hold 187. Two are currently vacant. Cook Political Report says 29 Republicans are toss-ups while the Democrats have three. There are 50 likely Republican seats with 13 likely Democratic seats. There are 179 solid Democratic seats with 161 solid Republican seats. That is a lot of vulnerability for Trump’s party. The most energized group of voters are young, single, college-educated women. They are Democrats.
Why should libertarians care? Ryan was essential in milking good economic policy out of the President. Ironically, Ryan and McConnell are more responsible for the successes libertarians like than Trump. With a Democratic Congress, the eager-to-please President will try to rack up wins large enough to keep a smile on DiFi’s face through 2020. The drama of impeachment would also follow.