JANESVILLE, Wisconsin — The sitting Speaker of the House, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), has been brought to his knees, bowing down before the almighty nationalist populist movement, as his life’s work—a career in politics—flashes before his eyes.
Regardless of what happens as results start trickling in a little after 8 p.m. locally tonight, Ryan has been forced by Republican businessman Paul Nehlen—his primary challenger—to kiss the ring of nationalist populism in order to fight for his political career. At this point, anything can happen: Ryan could win easily, as the polls suggest, or he could lose. But one thing is clear: If he wins, the only reason he succeeded at all will have been because he pandered for days to the nationalist populism rising around the world that led to Donald Trump becoming the GOP presidential nominee and the United Kingdom voting to “Leave” the European Union.
Previously thought to be unbreakable in his strident push for the elites’ globalist agenda—unlimited open borders immigration from the third world into America coupled with amnesty for illegal aliens along with unchecked trade agreements that drain American jobs to China, Canada, Mexico, and elsewhere around the world—Ryan has been proven to be weak throughout his primary.
Republicans in Washington even thought Ryan was some kind of Messiah.
“Paul Ryan is the Jesus of our conference. If Paul gives something his blessing, it brings the votes,” a GOP aide once said, before he was Speaker.
But no, it turns out that Ryan is not infallible. He is imperfect, he is human, and he can be beaten.
The fact that Ryan has been forced to campaign at all is astounding in and of itself. Even when he was seriously embattled as Speaker of the House, former Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) never had to respond to a primary challenger never mind campaign at home. And former House Speaker, current Minority Leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has similarly never had to respond to any nuisance back home.
Ryan, over the past couple weeks, had previously refused to do any campaigning whatsoever in the district—at least any events with actual voters that were open to the public. After more than a week of Breitbart News pointing this out, the sitting Speaker of the House came bent on wounded knee before not just one but two captive audiences of blue collar workers on factory floors to explain to them over and over how much his trade agenda was identical—in his mind, not reality—to that of 2016 GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.
“That’s what Donald Trump says as well,” Ryan said at A&E Tools in Racine after explaining his views on trade policy. “We want good trade agreements. We don’t want bad ones. We want good ones. But you got to have, in an economy like this, trade agreements so we can make it here and sell it there—instead of making it there and selling it there. That’s the difference here.”
The notion that Ryan is somehow similar to Trump on trade is insanely inaccurate. Ryan, along with the now vanquished 2016 Trump rival Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), was the chief architect of what’s been commonly termed “Obamatrade.” Obamatrade refers to the combination of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA)—the fast track package that greases the skids for congressional approval of specific trade deals, a piece of legislation Ryan helped Boehner ram through Congress—along with the three separate trade deals currently in motion, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA).
Everyone knows Ryan supports the TPP. In fact, even Ryan wrote that he did in a joint op-ed in the Wall Street Journal with Cruz back in April 2015. But thanks to Nehlen, Ryan is now saying he has issues with the deal in its current form and believes it must be renegotiated before Congress considers it for a vote.
“It’s really important that we get other countries to agree to play by our rules, our standards, our rules and standards so that we’re not undercut and so that we can get a level playing field,” Ryan said at A&E Tools on Monday. “Right now, that agreement [the TPP] isn’t there. It isn’t up to the standards in my opinion.”
Because of that, Ryan says, there are not enough votes to pass it in Congress at this time. That means, per Ryan’s own standards as laid out here during this primary in Wisconsin thanks to Nehlen, the TPP is dead until at least the next president takes office. Either voters nationwide will select Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, who will take that deal and retool it ever so slightly and ram it through Congress, or Donald Trump, who will shred it to pieces and completely destroy it.
In other words, Paul Nehlen killed the Trans Pacific Partnership. A small-time vice president for a water filtration company from rural Wisconsin who decided to run for office in the ultimate David vs. Goliath race—first-time candidate against 18-year incumbent and sitting House Speaker—singlehandedly put a dagger through the heart of that Speaker’s and the sitting president’s biggest globalist agenda item. Paul Nehlen shut down more of President Barack Obama’s agenda from the campaign trail here in Janesville over just a few months than Ryan has been able to do over eight years of supposedly fighting his administration—first as Budget Committee chairman, then as the vice presidential nominee in 2012 to failed GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, then as Ways and Means Committee chairman and now as House Speaker.
Ryan also admitted to the workers at A&E Tools, and at Ocenco—the other factory he spoke at a little more than an hour later—that there is a problem when Wisconsinites’ jobs, and the jobs of all Americans, are at risk of being outsourced overseas. And he said it should be the job of lawmakers in the United States to keep those jobs from being shipped overseas. Despite the fact he’s arguing for tax reform and regulatory reform as his methodology to achieve said goals—typical GOP establishment talking points—the fact that he’s admitting there’s a problem is astounding.
Not only did Ryan, throughout this race, go on defense on trade, Nehlen made him claim he isn’t for open borders immigration policy. Ryan, a supporter of the “Gang of Eight” style of amnesty bill and comprehensive immigration reform in whatever shape it comes, has had to claim to the voters of his own district that he wants border security and more immigration enforcement.
Like the trade claims, Ryan’s campaign’s statements are easily proven to be a farce. But the fact that he has to make those statements to win reelection is humbling, even for the chief lawmaker representing globalism in Washington. It’s in many ways worse than Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)—who’s facing his own tough reelection battle against Dr. Kelli Ward down there at the end of the month—claiming last time he barely survived a primary that he wanted to build “the danged fence” on the border.
Given the demographics of Wisconsin’s first congressional district, 11-time New York Times bestselling author and conservative commentator and columnist Ann Coulter—a Nehlen supporter who campaigned for the Republican candidate here this weekend—told Breitbart News, it’s harder to get the message that works everywhere else through here. Here, the voters don’t suffer so much from immigration and open borders despite the drain of jobs due to trade policies coming out of Washington.
“I’ve been avoiding pointing out the long odds, so as not to discourage Nehlen voters, but it would take a miracle,” Coulter said in an email that was originally private, but that she ultimately agreed to let Breitbart News print. “Let’s just hope Nehlen gets at least 20%. After being there, I can see why the voters of the 1st district aren’t worried about immigration. THEY DON’T HAVE ANY! It’s lovely, like being in 1980s America. We can only hope they have some friends in the Somali areas of MN or the MS-13 areas of the Greater Southwest, etc.”
Ryan was even made to answer, by what Nehlen calls one of his “payroll pundits” on the local talk radio apparatus he controls in state, that “yes” he does indeed have a soul.
That came after Nehlen repeatedly hammered him for being a “soulless globalist.”
“Yes,” Ryan replied when asked by one such “payroll pundit” under his control if he has a soul. “I’ll give you my priest’s cellphone where you can call him and ask him.”
Ryan’s team has not provided to any media outlets, including Breitbart News, the cell phone number of Ryan’s priest to verify whether he does in fact have a soul. In fact, Ryan is still refusing to do any substantive interviews, with his team officially declining a request from Breitbart News to talk with him about trade policy after his A&E Tools event. But Nehlen hammered him again here at a rally on the matter on Saturday just a few city blocks away from the mansion where Ryan resides.
“He said he went to his priest, and he checked with his priest, and he’s pretty sure he has a soul,” Nehlen said. “I’m betting he didn’t go into the confessional and say ‘I sold it to those globalists.’ Because at that point, his priest would have had to reassure him that he didn’t have it because if you sold it you don’t have it.”
Again, at this point in the day, it’s still unclear where things will end up this evening. Nehlen supporters are encouraged by energy that’s moved in their direction after Trump’s initial refusal to endorse Ryan last week, then his ultimate endorsement of Ryan which most didn’t take as him being enthusiastic at all, while Ryan acolytes are confident the polling is right and the Speaker will win 80 percent or more, while Nehlen will finish with 14 percent or under as a recent survey showed. Both sides say it’s down to turnout, and neither is leaving anything to chance—instead leaving it all on the field.
If Nehlen does capture more than 20 percent of the vote, even if he loses, then that could send Ryan back to Washington wounded and bloody to face a House GOP conference that’s increasingly frustrated with him. After the defeat of Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) by an establishment-backed primary challenger with the help of Ryan—who broke his promise to conservatives to put Huelskamp back on the House Agriculture Committee, from which he was removed by Boehner as retaliation for voting his conscience—conservatives in the House are furious with Ryan. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), another strong conservative, is similarly facing a tough battle down in Arizona.
“If the speaker’s inaction to support current incumbent members of the House continues, he will have problems being reelected speaker of the House,” a senior GOP aide from an unaffiliated office whose member voted for Ryan for Speaker when Boehner went down told Breitbart News.
Conservatives and the House Freedom Caucus in particular have already proven they have the votes to take out a sitting Speaker using a mechanism that Founding Father Thomas Jefferson put in place in the House Rules—what’s called a motion to vacate the chair. While early, that senior GOP aide confirmed to Breitbart News that with Ryan’s behavior here in Wisconsin and in Washington, D.C., “there are ongoing discussions that the Speaker and leadership getting involved in Republican primaries may” lead to use of such a mechanism.
At this point, the aide said, there does appear to be enough angst in the conference to oust Ryan if such a vote came up.
“I do, yes,” the aide said when asked if there are enough votes at this time to take out Ryan with a motion to vacate the chair. Ultimately though, it comes down to strategy—and whether ousting Ryan would be a smart move for the cause of those in the House Freedom Caucus.
“But I don’t know that that’s the smartest thing to do yet,” the aide said.
Another senior congressional aide from a different office also told Breitbart News that the matter hinges largely on whether anyone else can rise up to become Speaker.
“Is Ryan a better Speaker than Boehner? Well, he doesn’t make every vote in Congress feel like a barroom brawl, but other than that he’s not much of an improvement,” the aide said in an email. “The problem is that being Speaker is a big job, even if one were not trying to manipulate and coerce Members all the time. Can we find an ‘honest broker’ to just follow the Constitution and the Rules of the House, to allow the will of the people to be represented by the Representatives? A lot of conservatives thought Daniel Webster could do that job a couple of years ago. To defeat Ryan, they need to find an alternative candidate willing to step up to the plate. At this point, I don’t know who that is. Is there a honest man, one who is not in it to amass personal power? I feel like the ancient Greek philosopher, Diogenes. He founded the philosophy of Cynicism, you know… If Paul Ryan loses his primary election, we will certainly see the search get real.”