Paul Ryan's impossible decision
© Getty
Ever since Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rails against impeachment in speech to Texas farmers Trump administration planning to crack down on 'birth tourism': report George Conway on Trump adding Dershowitz, Starr to legal team: 'Hard to see how either could help' MORE won enough delegates to become the presumptive Republican nominee for president, the Republican Party has been split in how to deal with the controversial businessman. There have been influential figures in the party who have continued to attack him, such as former presidential nominee Mitt Romney and freshman Sen. Ben Sasse, neither of whom have softened their attacks since Trump won the nomination. However, a significant number of Republican figures are begrudgingly getting in line behind Donald Trump, including Speaker of the House Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanBiden alleges Sanders campaign 'doctored video' to attack him on Social Security record Sanders campaign responds to Biden doctored video claims: Biden should 'stop trying to doctor' public record The TRUST Act is a plot to gut Social Security behind closed doors MORE. Ryan, who has been critical of Trump in the past, has said that he believes that if he didn’t endorse the Republican nominee despite their differences it would split the Republican Party and make it harder to achieve the goal that he considers his top priority, defeating Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonNYT editorial board endorses Warren, Klobuchar for Democratic nomination for president Sanders v. Warren is just for insiders Alan Dershowitz: Argument president cannot be impeached for abusing power a 'strong one' MORE.

Now Ryan is clearly caught in an unenviable position. He has to choose between endorsing a candidate who he doesn’t believe in and being complicit in getting a democrat elected president of the United States for the third straight term. Ryan clearly believes that his main goal has to be putting a Republican in the Oval Office, regardless of who that is. And while I understand that perspective, I strongly disagree.

ADVERTISEMENT

Donald Trump is one of the most disliked politicians in American history. According to a recent CNN poll, he is viewed unfavorably by a shocking 59% of respondents. He is likely to lose to Hillary Clinton among Democrats, moderate Republicans, women and minorities, regardless of who endorses him. He is viewed as inexperienced, offensive and bigoted, which seem to be legitimate critiques based on the campaign that he’s run. The chances of him winning the presidency seem slim and even if he did win, the likelihood of him getting through his first term unscathed seems even slimmer.

Regardless of whether or not Trump can win the presidency, however, Ryan should cut ties with the controversial nominee for one reason: the down ballot effect. The Republicans are trying desperately to hold on to their majorities in the House and the Senate and a party endorsement of Trump could have disastrous effects to those ends. Republican congressmen up for re-election in diverse districts are already concerned about the effect Trump could have on their re-election chances, including Arizona Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMartha McSally fundraises off 'liberal hack' remark to CNN reporter Meghan McCain blasts NY Times: 'Everyone already knows how much you despise' conservative women GOP senator calls CNN reporter a 'liberal hack' when asked about Parnas materials MORE, who has said that he’s worried about his chances in a state that has a large Hispanic population with Trump at the top of ticket. The possibility of the Trump candidacy negatively effecting these vulnerable re-election bids should be top concern of the Republican Party, rather than the person who actually gets elected to the country’s highest office.

The Republicans are facing the very real possibility that they could go into Nov. 9 having lost the presidency, the Senate and a significant number of seats in the House. But that doesn’t have to be  the case. If Republican office holders cut bait with their poisonous nominee and spent all their time, energy and money on down ballot elections, the morning of November 9th could be much more palatable.

Paul Ryan needs to reconsider his endorsement of Donald Trump. So do Republicans in the House and the Senate. Because a moderate Democrat in the Oval Office with both houses of Congress comfortably red is probably the best case scenario for the Republican Party at this point. It would also give them a much better chance in the 2020 election without the stink of a Trump endorsement weighing down the party.

Donald Trump is a sinking ship. The only question at this point is if the party will cut bait in time and focus on elections they can actually win or instead choose to go down with the ship and give the Democratic Party the opportunity to dominate American politics for the foreseeable future.


Joseph McMahon is a recent graduate of SUNY Geneseo, with a bachelor's degree in political science.