House Speaker Paul Ryan says he will vote for Donald Trump in November. Ryan says he will do so because he “feel[s] confident [Trump] would help us turn the ideas in [the Republican House] agenda into laws to help improve people’s lives.
This is an endorsement. Ryan isn’t going to vote for Trump merely because he’s the GOP nominee or because he is marginally less bad than Hillary Clinton.
No. Having talked with Trump, Ryan is convinced that Trump would implement Ryan’s (mostly conservative) agenda, whereas Hillary would not.
Ryan acknowledges that he has differences with Trump, but doesn’t bother to identify them. Nor does he criticize Trump’s temperament or question his fitness for high office.
For me, it’s a question of how to move ahead on the ideas that I—and my House colleagues—have invested so much in through the years. It’s not just a choice of two people, but of two visions for America.
I’m not where Ryan is on this. I am not persuaded that Trump’s vision for America is a conservative one (but then, unlike Ryan, I haven’t discussed the issues with the tycoon) and I am alarmed by Trump’s temperament, as manifested by many of his statements and some of his behavior.
However, I respect Ryan’s decision to endorse Trump. He is being pragmatic, based presumably on representations Trump has made to him. As I suggested here, there is a case to be made that a political leader like Ryan should hold his nose, try to figure out which candidate is the lesser of the evils, and back that candidate.
With Ryan now in Trump’s corner, it’s fair to say that the GOP political establishment (by which I mean it’s high level elected officials) has come around. There are still holdouts, most notably Sens. Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Ben Sasse and Govs. Susana Martinez, Rick Snyder and Charlie Baker.
However, the primary season isn’t even over yet, and Hillary Clinton is still struggling with Bernie Sanders. It’s still early days.