A year ago, at the beginning of the primary season, I predicted, to the disdain and ridicule of my friends, that Donald Trump would be the GOP nominee. I collected on several bets. I could see the anger and disgust with Washington, hence my prediction. I am revising that prediction; I now think it will be an establishment candidate, not Mitt Romney, although he’s been angling for it with gusto the last couple of months, but probably Paul Ryan who doesn’t want to be the candidate as much as he didn’t want to be Speaker of the House.
My reasoning is simple. The Republican establishment, you know the Washington types who all live in the same bubble, are terrified that a Trump candidacy will bring about an election tsunami that will sweep away the GOP majority in the House and devastate their House majority. Establishment Republicans dominate the convention rules committee. I don’t think Trump understands the importance of the rules of the convention. He’s used to a corporate environment where the executive is really an executive and runs the show. Hah.
The Rules Committee will simply argue that the delegates can vote for whomever they please on the first ballot in order to bring some consistency to procedure since many states have as many different rules regarding delegate slates, etc. Then, behind the scenes they will convince enough delegates to vote for a favorite son or someone else on the first ballot, just enough to deny a first ballot victory to Trump. Then all bets are off, and Romney will try to ride in on a white charger to save the party, but he will be seen more as riding a mule. Now Paul Ryan, on the other hand, who has been cleverly saying how much he won’t take the nomination (we’ve heard that before, too) but will ultimately succumb. That’s why he did the about face on supporting Trump; he doesn’t want it to appear he’s angling for himself, which of course, he certainly is.
The Establishment will rightly argue that with Hillary’s negatives as high as they are, a Ryan nomination will easily prevent the tsunami and save the day by winning with a Ryan candidacy. Ryan has little negative baggage and would be a formidable candidate. Will that strategy piss off a lot of Trump’s supporters? Sure, but the Establishment doesn’t care because they want to win and they think most of them would rather vote for Ryan (who ostensibly supports Trump) than the devil Hillary. They see that as a path to victory and there’s nothing the political establishment likes better than that road.