As GOP front runner Donald Trump, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich battle it out in Wisconsin for tonight’s primary. But multiple media outlets are reporting that Speaker of the House and Wisconsin’s own favorite son Paul Ryan as the likely 2016 Republican nominee if Trump does not get the 1,237 delegates needed to win on the first on the first ballot.
The contested convention would be likely mean that the GOP establishment would look at one of their own to be the 2016 presidential nominee. As of now it looks like neither Trump and Cruz could rack up all the big wins in primaries, be the favorite of tens of millions of GOP voters and still be shutout of the nomination by party leaders who like Ryan as their compromise candidate.
A little history here open convention and the best example of a convention like that was the 1976 Republican meeting in Detroit., where President Ford was able to use an appeal for party unity to win Ronald Reagan’s support and secure the nomination. It helped that Ford had a clear lead and there was never enough rancor between the two candidates to make joining forces impossible.
According to a story in POLITICO, Republicans, with an enviable prediction record for this cycle, sees a 60 percent chance of a convention deadlock and a 90 percent chance that delegates turn to Ryan — ergo, a 54 percent chance that Ryan, who’ll start the third week of July as chairman of the Republican National Convention, will end it as the nominee.
Those in Washington know Speaker Ryan Ryan, to be a far more ambitious than he lets on, is running the same playbook he did to become speaker: saying he doesn’t want it, that it won’t happen. In both cases, the maximum leverage is to not want it — and to be begged to do it.
As Trump, Cruz and Kasich battle it out for a win in Wisconsin Ryan is on a Congressional trip to Israel so that he can be out of sight and mind while the fight goes on in his home state.
Trump and Cruz are not going to get the nomination unless they have 1,237 and only the front runner still has a chance to get to 1,237. But without a win or a close finish tonight in Wisconsin it becomes a little tougher.
MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said that if Trump falls even one vote short of a clinch, the convention will “look for someone else”: “If Trump doesn’t get the number, they’ll say they have rules for a reason.” And Karl Rove told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt last week: “A fresh face might be the thing that would give us a chance to turn this election and win in November against Hillary.”
Top Republicans say “fresh face” is code for “Paul Ryan.”
But if the GOP does pull Ryan out their hats look for one of the biggest floor fights in history.