The election has significant impact for Republicans as the 2018 contests begin. The first casualty of the Alabama result may be Paul Ryan. He sees the election, as do most political observers, as a mirror image of the 63-seat disaster for Democrats in 2010. Ryan does not intend on being the minority leader, defending the ever embattled and seldom grateful Donald Trump.
Although Ryan was never enthusiastic for Trump during the 2016 campaign, he saw the benefit of a unified Republican government. But clearly, the legislative accomplishments of the first year were, but for the tax cuts, far more modest than expected. And even tax reform is not yet producing political benefit.
Ryan’s timing reinforces the gloom the Republican House Majority faces under the leadership of President Trump. It also highlights what was already clear – legislative accomplishments in 2018 are done!
Supporters of Majority Leader McCarthy and Majority Whip Scalise have been maneuvering for weeks in anticipation of Ryan’s decision. Both of them get along better with Trump than Ryan, which is good because if they are in the minority, defending Trump and the administration from investigations will be a full-time job. And, of course, the Democrats will be looking to make their record for the 2020 election.
|Speaker Paul Ryan announces he will not run for re-election,
April 11, 2018 | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images