After serving since 1998 in Washington, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has announced that he will be retiring in January. Though a certain amount of House turnover should be considered normal (the average is 22 members during each cycle), Paul Ryan joins an unusually large current number of Republicans who will not be running again.
To date, at least 43 Republicans in the House have announced that they will not run for re-election. Though there is speculation about the “real” reason Paul Ryan is retiring, Ryan cites wanting to spend more time with his children as his reason for stepping down.
But some speculate that Paul Ryan is afraid he’ll lose if he runs again in November. Recent polls show dissatisfaction with the current state of the Republican party. In a Newsweek poll, for example, only two-thirds of Trump voters said they would definitely vote for a Republican representative in the next election.
On today’s spectrum, “conservative” is a relative term. Though Paul Ryan, a “classic Conservative,” may be seen as too conservative by many, he is not conservative enough for others, such as members of the Freedom Caucus. Many will see Paul Ryan’s departure as a positive, but for varying reasons. Though Democrats may applaud the fact that Paul Ryan is stepping down, his exit and subsequent replacement is likely to turn on the faucet of Trumpism full-force.
“This party is the party of Trump now…This is the bloodletting of classic conservatives (like Paul Ryan),” said Meghan McCain, on ABC’s The View.
McCain speculates that one reason for Paul Ryan’s retirement now is that “He doesn’t want to deal with it any more. He doesn’t want to go home to his constituents in Wisconsin and try to explain some of the tweeting, and some of the more incendiary things that Trump is doing right now.”
Indeed, of the 43 House Republicans who have made the choice to leave office, some are leaving in the wake of various scandals, others are running for a different office, but several, such as Senator Jeff Flake and Rep. Charlie Dent, have openly stated that they are doing so because they can no longer support the “dysfunction, disorder, and chaos” (Dent) in the Trump administration.
Paul Ryan likely has more than one reason for not seeking re-election, and we can only continue to speculate. All of us would like to believe that it is because he wants to be there for his children. Many of us would also like to believe that it’s at least in part because he can no longer stomach the current political climate in Washington. No matter what the full truth is, though, Paul Ryan’s departure leaves our government at risk of being thrown even farther off balance than it already is.
Paul Ryan Won’t Run For Re-Election | The View [2018-04-11]
Paul Ryan retiring over trouble with Trump? | Fox Business [2018-04-11]