After all the presidential campaigning, we have two probable nominees for president of the United States — former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Democrats and Donald Trump for the Republicans. But both parties have factions unwilling to support the party’s choice, notably Sen. Bernie Sanders’, D-Vt., supporters and mainstream Republicans who are uneasy with Trump as the standard-bearer of the GOP.
As Republicans were coming to grips with a Trump nominee, two names circled as potential candidates to replace him, both of them native Wisconsinites. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., Gov. Scott Walker have both come up as possible nominees. Since the Republican National Convention is well under way, it looks like no coup will disrupt Trump’s nomination for the Republican party.
But Trump has no chance to win the 2016 general election, so I, in classic media haste, turn my head to 2020 and examine which Wisconsinite would be the better Republican nominee.
Certain characteristics of Ryan show he is the better choice of the two Wisconsinites for a presidential candidate.
The Republican field, in recent years, has been deficient in terms of quality candidates. The likes of former Gov. Mike Huckabee and former U.S. House of Representative Michele Bachmann cannot compete on a national scale. These Republican candidates have had two major flaws: federal government inexperience and the inability to resonate with the general populace.
While both Walker and Ryan have certainly had experiences more similar to the average American than almost all other Republicans vying for the nomination, especially the 2012 Republican nominee, former Gov. Mitt Romney, Ryan’s relatability isn’t over-simplified the way Walker has constructed his persona.
Walker tries to be too relatable, which often hampers his seriousness at a national scale. When your tweets, all to often, are about Kohl’s, the brown bag lunch you brought to work or have a video element, it’s rather bush league.
Ryan seems much more professional. Maybe it’s because he uses a Bowflex, maybe it’s because he’s a fan of Rage Against the Machine, but it’s probably because he doesn’t sully his image with the same act Walker puts forward. Ryan relates to Americans in a different, more ambivalent way — he does his job. There’s some admirable, understandable way in which Ryan keeps his private life away from the limelight. The only issues he takes up are the issues affecting the American people.
Ryan is also much more experienced on a national scale than Walker. Since 1999, Ryan has been in the House, working his way up to the position of Speaker of the House in October 2015. In addition, Ryan has been on the grandest national stage — he was the vice president nominee for the Republican Party in 2012.
Walker’s federal experience has been lacking. He was the first person to drop out of the 2016 presidential race and has no other experience on the national scale. He was no idea how to properly manage a House and Senate, an essential part of being president, especially if each or either chamber were to be under Democratic control.
The argument could be made that Walker has better experience since he was governor of a state, giving him leadership ability. That is a limited way to view the Walker regime in Wisconsin. In all his years, he’s had the Wisconsin Legislature completely controlled by Republicans, rubber-stamping all of his ideas. Walker has never had to compromise.
But Ryan has been forced to work with Democrats his entire time in the House, seeing as a majority of his time in the federal government has seen at least either the House, Senate or the presidency controlled by Democrats.
Ryan is the better candidate for the presidency in 2020 and is most likely to be the Wisconsinite to run for the national office.
Walker’s time to shine in the national glow was this past election cycle in which, instead of living up to the hype, he floundered and quietly went back into his role as governor, saying that he is“completely committed to being governor.”
Ryan, conversely, has just emerged on the national scale and may become the top raking Republican when Trump loses the presidency and if Republicans lose control of the Senate. Given his inclination to simply work, already rolling out his House agenda A Better Way, Ryan can get the House moving productively again, something that will resonate with America four years from now.
Aaron Reilly ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in social work and economics.