By any fair metric, Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is the most ideologically extreme
House Speaker in modern American history. And yet, Donald Trump has taken deliberate steps in recent weeks to chastise
the GOP leader and blame Ryan for the Republican presidential ticket's difficulties -- despite the Speaker's endorsement, which hasn't been withdrawn.
Considered at a distance, it's a bizarre set of circumstances. When John Boehner, under pressure from the far-right, was effectively forced to step down as Speaker, Ryan was hailed as the one Republican -- the only
Republican -- who could credibly lead the party. When the Wisconsin congressman balked, GOP insiders begged
him to take the gavel. Ryan grudgingly agreed.
It may seem hard to believe, but that was literally one year ago this week
Now, however, Trump has made Ryan out to be an enemy to the conservative cause; prominent far-right activists are accusing him of being involved in conspiracies
against the GOP; and leading voices in Republican media have labeled Ryan a "saboteur
" who needs to be replaced
on Capitol Hill.
And as it turns out, this is having the intended effect. The latest YouGov/Economist poll
found that 64% of Trump voters have an unfavorable opinion of the Republican Speaker of the House, while only 28% have a favorable opinion. In a result that's hard to believe, the same survey found Ryan slightly more popular among Hillary Clinton's supporters
than Trump's.New results
from a Bloomberg Politics poll point in a similar direction.
The poll's findings showed the extent to which Trump, with his hardline positions on immigration and trade, has triumphed among the party's supporters over Ryan, with his vision of a pluralist conservative party that focuses on cutting taxes and spending.
When asked which leader better represents their view what the Republican Party should stand for, 51 percent of likely voters who are or lean Republican picked Trump, while 33 percent picked Ryan and 15 percent said they weren't sure.