I haven’t been truly proud of a Wisconsin national figure for a while. That was until yesterday, when Speaker of the House Paul Ryan announced he would no longer defend the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump after video surfaced of Trump basically admitting to sexually assaulting women.
The comments Trump made in the video are vile and disgusting. Even these adjectives cannot do justice to how incredibly sexist and bigoted the words he said were. He said “grab ‘em by the pussy” — These are words that no one should ever say.
Not everyone in the Republican party, however, was quick to condemning what Trump said. Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence — like a good running mate — is trying to do damage control, pretending Trump isn’t actually a flaming pile of shit. Though Trump and a flaming pile of shit are both orange and negatively affect everything around them.
Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus still gives Trump the backing of the party, which is what makes Ryan’s denunciation of Trump so important to this election and the future political landscape as a whole.
In this election, without Ryan’s support, Trump has no chance. Ryan can appeal to Independents and Democrats not entirely thrilled with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Trump in no way, shape or form can appeal to the average American like Ryan can and does. In addition, since Ryan has condemned Trump, it gives the green light for every Republican in the House to openly condemn Trump if they so choose.
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In the long run, I would argue Ryan is the most influential Republican in America today, having the same weight to swing congressional elections as a presidential nominee. If he continues to be a strong leader of Republicans in the House, soon the Republican Party will become the Party of Ryan.
Ryan has drawn a line in the sand, defining how extreme is too extreme. Maybe there will be a day when Republicans return to more centrist views — a kid can dream. Ryan’s denunciation is just the first step in shaping the Republican party to be able to compete in national elections again.
Of course, Trump wouldn’t take this lying down. In a tweet, Trump charged that Ryan should do his job and not fight the Republican nominee.
Paul Ryan should spend more time on balancing the budget, jobs and illegal immigration and not waste his time on fighting Republican nominee
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2016
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But, obviously, Trump is wrong. It is Ryan’s job to do what’s best for America, and denouncing Trump is just that.
Aaron Reilly ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in social work and economics.