As the Trump train rolled into the Washington D.C. station approximately a year ago, Americans were sure that a massive change was on the horizon.
It was something that you could just feel. Our international world had long been too tense, too rigid. Politics had become so routinely formulaic and, gasp, boring, that the Trump Presidency is the only thing that could breathe new life into the global community. Every move occurring on the world’s stage over the course of the last decade had been telegraphed far in advance, with those on both ends able to recognize the repercussions of their every move before even taking a step.
We were in a global societal stalemate, in many ways.
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With Trump the Unknown coming to Washington, however, all of that changed. Soon, the Deep State dissidents of the D.C. swamp would be squirming under the weight of a populist President, who also happened to be quite popular. Some went their merry way without much of a fight during the transition, while others, such as Mitch McConnell, barely made any attempts to hide his contempt for the situation while continuously bristling at every word the President utters.
Speaker Paul Ryan seemed equally as perplexed at first. How in the world did Donald Trump make it to the White House?, Ryan must have thought to himself over, and over again in the gap between election day and inauguration day.
Ryan eventually settled down and got on board the aforementioned Trump Train, but he may have never really settled back in to his congressional role.
And that is why he is on the way out.
“Ryan was tiring of D.C. even before reluctantly accepting the speakership. He told his predecessor, John Boehner, that it would be his last job in politics—and that it wasn’t a long-term proposition. In the months following Trump’s victory, he began contemplating the scenarios of his departure. More recently, over closely held conversations with his kitchen cabinet, Ryan’s preference has become clear: He would like to serve through Election Day 2018 and retire ahead of the next Congress. This would give Ryan a final legislative year to chase his second white whale, entitlement reform, while using his unrivaled fundraising prowess to help protect the House majority—all with the benefit of averting an ugly internecine power struggle during election season. Ryan has never loved the job; he oozes aggravation when discussing intra-party debates over ‘micro-tactics,’ and friends say he feels like he’s running a daycare center. On a personal level, going home at the end of next year would allow Ryan, who turns 48 next month, to keep promises to family; his three children are in or entering their teenage years, and Ryan, whose father died at 55, wants desperately to live at home with them full-time before they begin flying the nest. The best part of this scenario, people close to the speaker emphasize: He wouldn’t have to share the ballot with Trump again in 2020.”
We shall certainly see what this means for Washington at large, but for those paying attention to the Trump agenda, Ryan’s departure could signal success.