Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanCheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' Cheney allies flock to her defense against Trump challenge Paul Ryan researched narcissistic personality disorder after Trump win: book MORE (R-Wis.) is "not quite ready" to support presumptive Republican nominee Donald TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 committee chair says panel will issue a 'good number' of additional subpoenas Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Pentagon officials prepare for grilling Biden nominates head of Africa CDC to lead global AIDS response MORE. Good for him. It is not his job to fall in line to support a man who still isn't the formal nominee of the Republican Party. The Constitution says that the Speaker of the House is the elected official third in line for the presidency; Ryan will be that no matter who is president, assuming he is reelected Speaker in January.
It is Ryan who invites the Republican Pretender to meet, not the other way around. Given that, this is the moment that Ryan must seize. Carpe diem, seize the day!
Ryan and the entire Republican leadership in Congress must proceed as if Trump doesn't exist. Trump, it appears, is headed for a gigantic defeat in the general election. Trump's candidacy blows the fabulous opportunity Republicans have to win the presidency and prevent what would essentially be an Obama third term if likely Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats worry negative images are defining White House Heller won't say if Biden won election Whitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 points in Michigan governor race: poll MORE is the victor.
Critical senators are up for reelection and Republicans cannot afford to lose more than three seats in the Senate. The House is relatively secure for Republicans to maintain control, providing a firewall for Republicans.
So what should Ryan actually do to salvage all he can from the coming Trump disaster? He can call the shots. Trump needs Ryan far more than Ryan needs Trump.
Mitt Romney carried 93 percent of the Republican vote in 2012 and lost. Romney carried independents by 5 percentage points and still lost. Fact: Trump is down with independents in every poll taken. Fact: Trump is being slaughtered by Hispanics in all polling. Fact: Trump would need at least a 25 percent increase over the Romney Hispanic vote to begin to think he can win.
What can Ryan do to help his congressional colleagues win their elections no matter what Trump does? His mission must be to save the Congress and the Republican future.
Ryan should instruct House Judiciary Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteThe job of shielding journalists is not finished Bottom line No documents? Hoping for legalization? Be wary of Joe Biden MORE (R-Va.) to produce three bills before the Republican convention in July:
Grant legalization to any children without criminal records brought into the United States illegally, with a path to permanent residency.
Create a new employer-based guest worker permit system available to people with no criminal records in employment fields in which studies show there are chronic worker shortages, whether seasonal or full-time by region or state (e.g. harvest or planting time, Rocky Mountain ski seasonal work, Florida winter seasonal work, etc.).
Create a new E-Verify system (replacing the current error-ridden one) to be run by a private contractor — such as a credit card company — that regularly handles billions of transactions. It will have a clearly defined appeals process to the federal courts at no cost to appellants, with a 30-day decision limit.
Ryan should instruct the House Judiciary Committee to write these bills and then send them directly to the House floor to be voted up or down without amendments. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFord to bolster electric vehicle production in multi-billion dollar push On The Money — GOP blocks spending bill to kick off chaotic week in congress Overnight Health Care — Presented by Alrtia — Booster shots get bipartisan rollout MORE (R-Ky.) should then order an up-or-down vote in the Senate, avoiding filibuster; but, if that isn't possible, a 60-vote threshold should be obtainable.
Democrats would have to vote for these three bills, with the possible exception of the E-Verify bill. And Trump would have to stay silent on the bills or support them. He could not oppose them. He might brag about his "deal-making" if they pass and Obama signs them.
Singlehandedly, Ryan could bring in Hispanic voters for GOP congressional candidates, or at least have them look favorably upon the Republican Party in the future. Passing the bills would be a significant Republican victory and appeal to Mexican-American voters west of the Mississippi River, where millions live and vote.
Trump and his ersatz Republican followers will be gone after he is defeated in November, but Ryan and victorious Republican congressmen will still be in Washington. They can happily welcome Hispanic voters thankful to the party for doing what Democrats never did when they had the opportunity.
The fact of life is that it's not about Trump's future; it's about the Republican Party's future. Romney proved a GOP candidate cannot win with 93 percent of the Republican vote and also carry independents; the party must bring in Hispanic voters. It must receive more than 35 to 40 percent of Hispanic voters, with a particular emphasis on Mexican-Americans, who make up 64 percent of the Hispanic American population.
Without Hispanics, Republicans will never win the presidency again. Mitt Romney proved that, and Trump will prove that even more spectacularly this November.
Contreras formerly wrote for the New American News Service of The New York Times Syndicate.