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Thursday, June 02, 2016

How do you like your toast? Cantored, Rocked or Davisized?

Just one day after a third party candidate running under a "Trump Conservative" party banner filed his petition for the 1st Congressional District House ballot, Paul Ryan decides to officially endorse Donald Trump in a tweet.

A lot of folks think Ryan's sudden endorsement of Trump was calculated solely on considerations for his ideological or legislative agenda. I don't buy it.

Had that been the case, the Speaker of the House would have issued his high profile endorsement from a national media stage - not through his hometown newspaper. It's directed at local constituents in hopes to reset opposition campaigns building against him in his home district.

I think there was no doubt Ryan would have maintained his un-endorsed Trump stance over his primary challenger, Paul Nehlen, up until the day after the primary election on August 9th - assuming he would have defeated Nehlen. Because Ryan would then be left facing a stand-alone 33% Democrat (and a 2% Libertarian) in the general election.

But that all changed on June 1st when a third party candidate, Spencer Zimmerman, filed as a "Trump Party" candidate. Regardless on how underfunded or weak the candidate might appear, there would have been a good chance that Zimmerman, identified with Trump on the ballot, would have picked up enough Nehlen supporters to potentially siphon off 15% to 20% of Republican voters from Ryan in the general election. So Ryan's sudden "voting for Trump" tweet helped break the contrast and neutralize a Jack Davis style threat to his re-election campaign.

In case you're wondering, Jack Davis ran as a "Tea Party" third party candidate in 2011 for a New York congressional house seat in a republican district and lost. But he was credited with siphoning off just enough votes from the favored Republican party candidate to hand the seat they have long held over to Democratic challenger, Kathy Hochul. Hochul won the election with 47% of the vote. Jack Davis picked up 9.2 percent.

Of course Ryan is still not out of woods because he has to clean up the Trump endorsement fall-out (unless he reverses) from many of his district supporters (Republican voters in Ryan's district rejected Trump by a large margin, 51% to 32%, in the Wisconsin presidential primary).

The question is: Will Ryan's supporters continue to allow themselves to be led around by the nose?

Outside of additional progress for the Paul Nehlen campaign or Democratic party candidates, Ryan's latest move leaves the Rock The First strategy intact and potentially as the only viable means left for district voters to remove the entrenched congressman and move forward with a clean slate.


The Hill - Paul Ryan: I'm voting for Donald trump

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