GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, not House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, is the leader of the Republican Party.
Although the GOP establishment has rebuked its presidential nominee, it should beware: Mr. Trump is more liked by Republicans than Mr. Ryan.
Translation: Mr. Ryan needs Mr. Trump more than the other way around to maintain the party’s base. Mr. Trump did garner more primary votes than any other nominee in GOP history, after-all.
Although Mr. Ryan’s seat in Wisconsin may be safe no matter what position he takes on Mr. Trump, nationally, he can’t afford to offend Trump supporters who are threatening to withhold support for other congressional republicans because they feel the Washington establishment isn’t on-board.
Mr. Trump has a 67 percent favorable rating among republican primary voters compared to Mr. Ryan’s 54 percent, according to the most recent The Economist/YouGov poll. Mr. Trump as a 36-point net favorable rating, compared to Mr. Ryan’s 16-point net favorable.
And that’s not just among Republican primary voters.
Mr. Trump more than doubles Mr. Ryan’s net favorable rating when it comes to Republicans period, according to the poll.
“Ryan is about as popular now as he was at the beginning of the primaries, but his favorability dipped to its lowest point right around the time he was refusing to endorse Trump after Trump wrapped up the nomination,” wrote pollster Harry Enten, of the Fivethirtyeight blog, who analyzed Mr. Ryan’s support.
“It was only after endorsing Trump that Ryan regained some of his likability among Republican primary voters,” Mr. Enten added.
Outsiders dominated the Republican primary, with the base clearly demanding a change to the status quo in Washington. Right, wrong or indifferent, Mr. Ryan represents the status quo.
If Mr. Ryan ever wants to run for president, maintain his speakership or begin to heal the Republican Party after November, he needs to recognize that fact, and perhaps, cut Mr. Trump and his supporters some slack.