22:45 GMT +313 November 2019
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    US House Speaker Paul Ryan holds a briefing to preview the House Republican policy agenda set to be released in the coming weeks on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on May 25, 2016

    Fear of ‘Blue Wave’ Behind US House Speaker Paul Ryan’s Retirement

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    On Wednesday, US House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan announced he would not run for reelection in the November election, when his term, along with all 434 other House lawmakers and 34 senators’, ends.

    Investigative reporter Dave Lindorff told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear that Ryan's departure is predictive of a Democratic victory wave in the House in November, especially since Ryan joins nearly 30 other House Republicans who announced their retirement from the lower chamber this year.

    ​"I was initially surprised, because the speaker position is really powerful and Ryan is obviously a very aggressively ambitious politician. However, the more I think about it, the more I think he had to make this decision if he has higher aspirations for political office, because he is in trouble in Wisconsin. The state has been a hard Republican state for a while now, but it is switching back to a progressive state," Lindorff told hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker.

    Ryan told Politico for an interview published Wednesday that he "believes strongly in inclusive, aspirational politics that are based on bringing people together and not exploiting divisions" and that the "polarization" of "identity politics" is eroding "political goodwill" in the US.

    During a Wednesday morning news conference, the 48-year-old father of three added that another reason he will retire after finishing his term in January is because he doesn't want to be an "only weekend dad" to his children.

    However, according to Lindorff, Ryan might also be driven by political reasons: namely, the "risk of a blue wave" taking over Wisconsin and carrying a Democrat to the speaker position next year.

    Kiriakou suggested that perhaps Ryan resigned in to avoid sharing the fate of Tom Foley, who was speaker of the House from 1989 to 1995 and the first speaker since 1892 to lose a re-election race. 

    "Last week, Democrat Rebecca Dallet also won a court seat in the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, which also tops the state to Democrat majority in their Supreme Court. That is a huge position for her," Lindorff told Radio Sputnik. Dallet's April 3 victory over Michael Screnock was the first time in 23 years that a liberal who wasn't an incumbent won a seat on the state high court.

    "I attribute it to Wisconsin voters standing up to special interests," said Dallet, a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge, last week. "I think they're ready to have fair and independent courts."

    House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and House Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana are among those likely to battle for control of the House's Republican caucus.

    "McCarthy, because he is from California, has a hard time being as right-wing as the Republican Party has become. The population of California is extremely liberal on social issues. So, Republicans there have to walk a very careful line in order to win elections," Lindorff told Radio Sputnik, predicting that Scalise is more likely than McCarthy to be Ryan's successor.


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