For months, it was clear that Republicans were looking to House Speaker Paul Ryan as the backup plan. Not so much as a candidate, but as a life raft for the No-Never-Notgonna-Trump group of legislators who had spent the primary season declaring that Trump was No True Conservative. Ryan went through the motions of working with the Freedom!!! Caucus to develop an alternative to the Trump-flavored platform that will come out of Cleveland, and made it clear that not only was he not giving a big wet kiss to Donnie, he was available for photo ops with congressmen who didn’t want Trump to appear at their rallies.
However, as the population of Nevertrumpistan has dwindled to a precious few, the need for Ryan’s shadow Republican Party has diminished. In fact, now that the narrative has become Republicans united, Ryan’s refusal to embrace the giant cheese puff of doom threatens to make Ryan not “that stand-up guy who saved us seats by offering an alternative to Trump,” but “Loser Mitt’s crony who wouldn’t go along with the crowd.” For Republicans, that second place is never somewhere you want to be if you’re planning on anything that might be called a political career.
So it’s not surprising that word has started to leak of a thaw in relations.
House Speaker Paul Ryan has begun telling confidants that he wants to end his standoff with Donald Trump in part because he’s worried the split has sharpened divisions in the Republican Party, according to two people close to the lawmaker. …
If Ryan were to endorse Trump, the move would end a nearly unprecedented standoff between the House speaker and his party’s presumptive presidential nominee, and remove the biggest remaining obstacle to Trump’s efforts to unite Republicans around his campaign.
Then Republicans will be one big family again with everyone dedicated to the idea of kicking millions of people out of the country, banning millions more based on their religion, telling women that they’re uggos, and calling for an investigation of Vince Foster’s death. Unity!
A Ryan spokesperson has tossed a bit of coolness at the story …
Which mostly suggests that Ryan is going to work his way up cheese mountain in easy stages—make it to support, then prepare for the assault on endorse.