Ryan: GOP has to fight to win Wisconsin again
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Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanYou just can't keep good health policy down Trump blasts Congress for sending him omnibus bill that 'nobody read' Students bash Congress for inaction on gun control MORE (R-Wis.) said Monday that Republicans can’t take Wisconsin for granted in future elections, after the party carried the state’s presidential vote for the first time in 32 years.

“We really have an energetic battle of ideas here. You can’t just rest on laurels and assume everyone listens to the same shows and thinks the same thing, because they don’t here in Wisconsin,” he said in an interview during Wisconsin radio host Charlie Sykes’s final broadcast.

“We have to constantly convince and persuade, and our ideas are always challenged and questioned,” Ryan said. “Because this is not a doctrinaire state for the left or the right.”

Sykes noted that many top Republican leaders nowadays hail from Wisconsin: Ryan; incoming White House chief of staff Reince Priebus; Gov. Scott Walker, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association; and Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonOvernight Health Care: House passes .3T omnibus | Bill boosts funds for NIH, opioid treatment | Senators spar over ObamaCare fix | 'Right to Try' bill heads to the Senate GOP pushes to change Senate rules for Trump House passes 'right to try' drug bill MORE, the Senate Homeland Security Committee chairman.

Ryan praised Sykes for his nearly 25-year tenure hosting a daily conservative talk radio show, saying it helped pave the way for conservatism in what had historically been a Democratic-leaning state.

The Speaker said Sykes’s show cut through what he viewed as Democrats’ “monopoly” over media in Wisconsin.

“Before you came around, the left had a, arguably, a monopoly on information through the media. And there was really no one challenging the premise of what everybody was being fed in Wisconsin. And you just smashed that model. You crushed it and helped bring a disinfectant into our political system here in Wisconsin that gave rise to, you know, what I would call truth. That gave rise to classic conservatism,” Ryan said.

Sykes refused to back President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpScarborough mocks 'Deflection Don' over transgender troop ban Pelosi condemns Trump's 'cowardly, disgusting' ban on transgender troops Trump moves to ban most transgender people from serving in military MORE throughout the campaign.

In a New York Times op-ed published last week, Sykes said Trump’s election showed that conservative media and the conservative movement were “broken” and “deeply compromised.”

“One staple of every radio talk show was, of course, the bias of the mainstream media. This was, indeed, a target-rich environment. But as we learned this year, we had succeeded in persuading our audiences to ignore and discount any information from the mainstream media. Over time, we’d succeeded in delegitimizing the media altogether — all the normal guideposts were down, the referees discredited,” Sykes wrote.

“We destroyed our own immunity to fake news, while empowering the worst and most reckless voices on the right.”

Sykes didn’t press the subject of the president-elect with Ryan, who frequently criticized Trump during the campaign but has since aligned with him.
“I’m just really hoping that everybody proves me wrong in the next year,” Sykes said. “Make me eat all my words.”