Paul Ryan wants to make one thing clear: this is for any Republican who hasn’t nominated Donald Trump in 2024.
“That new swing voter in American politics is the suburban voter, and it’s really clear that suburban voters don’t like Trump, but they like Republicans,” the former House speaker said in a recent appearance on Fox Business. “So I think anybody who doesn’t nominate Trump, they’re much more likely to win the White House for us.”
While Ryan’s assessment looks like Trump will run again, he’s preparing for what a third bid for the third president will look like.
As CNN’s Gabby Orr reported Tuesday, Trump appears to be “accelerating plans for another presidential campaign,” going so far as to consider campaign locations (Florida and the Washington, D.C., area are the two top choices) and who can help lead the effort (GOP longtime Chris LaCivita operative is seen as an option).
Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin who left office when Trump took over the Republican Party in 2019, has not been shy about offering his skepticism about the former president running for the White House again.
“Whether he runs or not, I don’t know if it really matters,” Ryan said earlier this month. “He won’t be a candidate, I don’t think.”
It’s unclear what Ryan is actually basing his assessment of Trump’s chances on. Trump remains a dominant figure in the GOP and, if anything, has solidified his hold on the GOP in the 2022 primary — with many of his endorsed candidates winning key Senate and gubernatorial races.
In 2016, Trump beat Hillary Clinton among urban voters 50% to 45%, according to polls. Four years later, Joe Biden narrowly beat Trump in the suburbs 50% to 48%. In the 2018 midterm elections, where Republicans dominated the House, the parties took 49% of the vote among district voters.
So yes, Trump lost districts in 2020. But it wasn’t exactly targeted.
Ryan’s criticism of Trump actually reads like a bit of wishful thinking. Ryan was not a fan of Trump when the two were in office together. And the several years that have passed have not brought détente.
“As a Republican, having Paul Ryan on your side virtually guarantees loss, for you, for the Party, and for America itself,” Trump wrote in a statement last year. (He was responding to a speech by Ryan in which the former House speaker said, “If the conservative cause depends on the populist appeal of a personality or second-rate impersonations, then we’re not going anywhere.”
While Trump’s candidacy is being treated as a foregone conclusion by many in his orbit, the rest of the Republican field in 2024 is far from certain. As Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a potential candidate himself, recently said: “The whole world will change depending on what Donald Trump decides. This is true for all candidates. That’s for every potential candidate.’
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appear to be moving forward with plans to run for the GOP nomination, but it’s not yet clear if those plans will change if it’s Trump. officially enters the race.
What we do know is that Trump would start the race – against anyone in the GOP field – as the clear favorite for the nomination. And even if the favorites lose, the odds, at least for now, are in Trump’s favor.