Trump hits Paul Ryan on Twitter: “The shackles have been taken off me”

Paul Ryan photoPhoto by DonkeyHotey

Trump hits Paul Ryan on Twitter: “The shackles have been taken off me”

We’ve finally reached the conclusion to this months-long real-time reenactment of “Aguirre, Wrath of God.” But since that movie’s (sort of) obscure, let’s use “Carrie” as an analogy instead.

The bucket has dropped. The doors are locked. Everything is red.

Safe to say that the “Kellyanne Conway phase” of the campaign is over and the “Steve Bannon/Roger Stone phase” is set to begin. Incidentally, Trump’s not wrong about some House Republicans blowing up at Ryan on yesterday’s conference call:

On the call, Ryan instructed fellow House Republicans to make their own calculations about Trump based on the politics of their districts. The speaker was challenged by at least a half-dozen members, from California to Ohio, who bristled at any attempt to distance the party from Trump, people on the call said.

“He got huge pushback like I’ve never seen before from members from across the country just saying that was the wrong move — and even if it cost them the House,” said one lawmaker on the call, who, as others who were interviewed, spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly describe the private discussion.

I understand the argument that Ryan and the caucus should stick firmly with Trump, come what may, because that’s their best chance of retaining a majority. Keep Trump’s fans happy and hope that swing voters don’t punish Republicans downballot too harshly for the nominee’s sins. That’s a defensible calculation, although Ryan’s calculation — that sticking with Trump will cost more votes on balance by angering those same swing voters — is defensible too. I don’t understand the argument that House Republicans are duty bound to go down with this ship, which is currently being steered by a guy who doesn’t even pretend to be a conservative, even if it means removing the last legislative check on Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer. That’s not strategy. That’s Jonestown. It’s mindless self-sacrifice on behalf of a narcissist who would never think to sacrifice himself out of loyalty to someone or something else.

And it may backfire:

Trump thinks threatening retaliation will keep other Republicans from fleeing the ship, a strategy that worked fine for him while he was still competitive with Clinton but won’t work as well if he begins to fade post-tape. Attacking the party under those circumstances might actually give anti-Trump GOPers an excuse to cut him loose, inadvertently removing their own shackles tying them to him. There are bound to be some Republican voters too who are sticking with him for now, despite their disgust at the “Access Hollywood” tape, out of pure party loyalty but who’ll begin to defect if he declares war on the rest of the GOP. Not every Republican prefers Trump to Paul Ryan, you know; even if he sheds only three or four percent of his GOP support, that’s going to make his odds of victory even longer than they are now. And the nastier this gets, the greater the risk that even the RNC will pull the plug on him, wrecking his ground game and setting him up for a humiliating landslide. Reince has been a good soldier until now because he’s deathly afraid of Trump burning down the party, but once Trump lights the match that’s a fait accompli. There’ll be no reason for the RNC to keep defending him. Especially when you remember that Priebus and Ryan are old pals from Wisconsin.

Here’s Ryan’s pithy response to Trump’s tweets, encouraging all Republicans — ahem — to focus on attacking Democrats instead of their own allies. Exit quotation from Kevin Williamson, written on May 3rd just a few hours after Trump effectively clinched the nomination by winning Indiana: “Remember, you asked for this.”

The post Trump hits Paul Ryan on Twitter: “The shackles have been taken off me” appeared first on Hot Air.

Photo by DonkeyHotey

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