Tags: Mitch McConnell | Paul Ryan | GOP | Capitol Hill | 2016

Ryan, McConnell at Odds on How to Guide Party Through Turbulent 2016

Image: Ryan, McConnell at Odds on How to Guide Party Through Turbulent 2016
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By    |   Wednesday, 04 May 2016 11:53 AM

The unorthodox campaign of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump is reportedly putting pressure on the top two Republican lawmakers — and vulnerable congressional candidates — to protect their Capitol Hill majority.

But Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan are following vastly different approaches to staying the course in their respective chambers while guiding the party through the turbulent campaign, The Hill reports.

According to the Hill, Ryan is putting together an ambitious five-point national Republican agenda addressing national security, jobs and economic growth, Obamacare, poverty and the president's growing use of executive authority.

Not on the list that'll be unveiled prior to the party's convention: the hot-button issue of immigration reform, The Hill reports.

McConnell, on the other hand, has a strategy of letting Senate Republican candidates define their own races without too much central planning from the leadership offices — and concentrating instead on passing spending bills prior to the GOP convention, The Hill reports.

The Hill reports a memo circulated by the National Republican Senatorial Committee last September — long before Trump's dominant ascendance in the primary — declared: "It is certain that all GOP candidates will be tied in some way to our nominee, but we need not be tied to him so closely that we have to engage in permanent cleanup of distancing maneuvers."

"Don't get drawn into every Trump statement and every Trump dust-up. Keep the focus on your own campaign," the memo advised.

But GOP strategists contend Trump's stances on national security, entitlement reform and healthcare, as well as trade and immigration, are not a comfortable fit for the GOP candidates who may wind up sharing the ticket with the brash billionaire this November.

"This is a year when Republican congressional candidates are not going to want Trump to be their spokesperson," Darrell West, director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution, tells The Hill. "He is too polarizing and his negatives are too high."

Adds White Ayres, a GOP pollster who advised Florida Sen. Marco Rubio:

"Donald Trump's policy positions are not just inconsistent with a lot of Republican platforms in the past but diametrically opposed to a lot of Republican platforms in the past. It remains an open question whether other Republicans who have run on some version of those policy proposals are willing to throw them over because their nominee does."

Another strategist, Vin Weber, an adviser on the campaigns of George W. Bush and Mitt Romney, says it remains to be seen "to what extent are we going to follow tradition and simply turn the entire convention and the party over to the nominee" if Trump becomes the standard-bearer.

"That's something that we've always done in the past," he said. "I think that's a much more open question this time…"

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Politics
The unorthodox campaign of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump is reportedly putting pressure on the top two Republican lawmakers - and vulnerable congressional candidates - to protect their Capitol Hill majority.
Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, GOP, Capitol Hill, 2016
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2016-53-04
Wednesday, 04 May 2016 11:53 AM
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