Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) could be in prime position to run for president in 2020 if Donald Trump leads the GOP to a monumental collapse in November.
With his youth and sunny, Reaganesque message, Ryan could be a formidable White House candidate in four years’ time, when the Republican Party may be searching for a safer standard-bearer after the roller coaster ride of 2016.
“I honestly don’t think Paul ever wants to run for president,” said Washington veteran Cesar Conda, who helped Ryan land his first full-time staffer job on Capitol Hill in 1992. “But four years is a long time, and Hillary Clinton could do a so much damage to the country that he might reconsider.”
Many in the party had hoped that Ryan, Mitt Romney’s 2012 vice presidential running mate, would jump in this cycle. But he took a pass, only to watch as Trump, the New York billionaire and reality TV star, dispatched the field one by one.
In hindsight, it was a smart move for Ryan to sit out the race. The new Speaker has managed to steer clear of the mudslinging and petty personal attacks that have defined the race while using his bully pulpit to offer a positive, forward-looking vision for the party and nation.