Nate Jackson / April 13, 2016

Ryan: You’re Stuck With Trump or Cruz

Speaker emphatically denies that he’ll be the GOP nominee.

“Let me be clear: I do not want, nor will I accept the [presidential] nomination for our party,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said Tuesday. So what? He said the same thing about running for speaker. Such denials are perhaps the most normal thing in politics. Why is it news that someone isn’t running for president at this late stage? Because neither Donald Trump nor Ted Cruz is likely to reach Cleveland with a majority of delegates. Trump is almost certain to lose at the convention if he doesn’t reach a majority before then, but given that Cruz has primarily built his reputation by fighting Republicans, many in the party aren’t keen on rewarding him with the nomination on a later convention ballot. The establishment — the real establishment, not the phony definition that includes anyone but Trump — doesn’t want either Trump or Cruz.

Thus, there have been growing rumblings from the Beltway about an alternative GOP presidential nominee at a contested convention. Among the names floated are Mitt Romney (seriously), retired Marine Gen. James Mattis and Ryan.

“Count me out,” Ryan said emphatically. “I simply believe that if you want to be the nominee for our party to be the president, you should actually run for it. I chose not to do this, therefore I should not be considered. Period. End of story.”

That eliminates not just Ryan, but anyone except the 17 candidates who ran. If the party follows his advice, it has three remaining realistic choices: Trump, Cruz or John Kasich. If Trump ends up with the nomination, the Senate will likely be lost and Ryan’s services may be needed just to hang on to a Republican majority in the House. Unfortunately, the hostile divisions in the party are making it harder for any nominee to win in November, even against a historically bad Democrat nominee in Hillary Clinton.

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