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Trump sees Paul Ryan involved in a 'sinister deal'

Donald Trump and his allies have cooked up a brand new conspiracy theory, and House Speaker Paul Ryan is at the center of it.
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan speaks during his weekly news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept.22, 2016. (Photo by Yuri Gripas/Reuters)
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan speaks during his weekly news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept.22, 2016. 
On Monday, with Republican politics facing crisis conditions, Jerry Falwell Jr. shared a new conspiracy: maybe GOP leaders on Capitol Hill were responsible for the 2005 "Access Hollywood" recording in which Donald Trump boasted about sexual assault."I've got some independent information, but I'm not going to reveal it on the air, but I think some of the establishment folks who reluctantly endorsed him had this planned all along as a way to slither out of the endorsement," the Liberty University chief said. "It wasn't a coincidence that it came out right before Trump was supposed to appear with Paul Ryan at a rally, and it conveniently gave Paul Ryan a way to disinvite Trump."Breitbart News, true to form, found this quite compelling.The conspiracy theory is obviously hard to take seriously, but it may have helped influence Donald Trump a bit. Yesterday, the Republican presidential hopeful said the Speaker of the House didn't congratulate him on his latest debate performance -- which  is proof of something "sinister."

"Wouldn't you think that Paul Ryan would say 'Good going'? In front of just about the largest audience for a second night debate in the history of the country?" Trump began. "You'd think they would say 'Great going, Don. Let's go. Let's beat this crook. She's a crook. Let's beat her. We've got to stop it!'""No, he doesn't do that," Trump said as the crowd booed along. "There is a whole deal going on there. There is a whole deal going on and we're going to figure it out. I always figure things out. But there's a whole sinister deal going on."

Let's unpack this a bit, because while much of this is nonsensical, something important is lurking in the background.Consider some basic truths: Trump lost the second debate, and expecting a congratulatory phone call after failing is a little silly. Also, accusing your own party's Speaker of being part of a "sinister deal," without proof, while he's still endorsing your candidacy, is pointless.As for Trump's claim that he "always figures things out," that generally means he always comes up with an outlandish conspiracy theory no fair-minded person can take seriously.But Trump's offensive against Ryan, which began earlier in the week, isn't about "sinister" deals that exist only in the candidate's imagination. As we discussed on Tuesday, Trump is concerned about losing and he's taking steps to blame others for his defeat.If he can say Ryan cost him a victory, Trump will try to avoid responsibility for his candidacy, while ensuring intra-party tensions continue past the elections.Trump needs scapegoats, and given his base's hostility towards the party "establishment," combined with Ryan trying to put some distance between himself and his party's candidate, the House Speaker is a convenient foil.That's what this is all about.