The Republican Party is reeling in the wake of the massive defeat they suffered in the recent midterm elections. Democrats seized 40 Congressional seats, giving them control of the House of Representatives for the first time since Trump entered the Oval Office, putting his entire corrupt administration in the crosshairs of what is sure to be a barrage of subpoenas.
While post-election discussions have focused in large part on the Democrats’ decision to once again choose California’s incredibly competent and accomplished Representative Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, not enough attention has been given to current Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and his utter failure to maintain his party’s control of the House.
The man who was once held up as the shining star of American conservatism has been completely neutered and deboned by the Trump era, managing on his best days to offer the most tepid of criticisms while blindly supporting the president’s agenda anyway. The suited invertebrate is playing the waiting game now, trying to avoid undue attention until his term expires and he returns to private life.
That said, Ryan still can’t help but pop his head up from time to time to remind us all that he still exists. Today, he flirted some Trumpian conspiracy theory peddling. Ryan attacked the California election system by calling it “bizarre” and saying that it “just defies logic to me.”
“We were only down 26 seats the night of the election and three weeks later, we lost basically every California race. This election system they have — I can’t begin to understand what ‘ballot harvesting’ is,” said Ryan at a Washington Post event.
Ryan was presumably whining about California’s policy that allows absentee and provisional ballots to trickle in and be counted so long as they are mailed out on or before Election Day and arrive at their destination by the Friday after. The result is that votes are counted fairly, but sometimes the elections aren’t called for several weeks. For anyone who cares about democracy, it’s a far superior system than simply ignoring votes that take longer to arrive.
“The way the absentee-ballot program used to work, and the way it works now, it seems pretty loosey goose. When you have candidates who win the absentee ballot vote and then lose three weeks later because of provisionals, that’s really bizarre. I just think that’s a very, very strange outcome,” said Ryan.
While he stopped short of alleging that millions of undocumented immigrants voted illegally (as Trump has in the past), the comments were still highly inappropriate.
It’s not some weird quirk of the California system that resulted in the overwhelming Republican defeat, it’s simply that the American people recognize the GOP for what it is: a deeply corrupt, cowardly party incapable or unwilling to challenge a criminal president or address the issues that matter to voters. So bad was the Republican defeat that they even managed to lose control of so-called “Reagan Country” in Orange County, a longtime GOP stronghold.
After the comments, Ryan’s campaign spokesman Jeremy Adler tried to smoothe things out by saying that, “The Speaker did not and does not dispute the results.”
California’s Secretary of State Alex Padilla torn into Ryan in a statement given to The Hill. It reads:
“It is bizarre that Paul Ryan cannot grasp basic voting rights protections. It shouldn’t ‘defy logic’ that elections officials are meticulous in counting every eligible ballot. California works to ensure every ballot is counted properly and every ballot is accounted for. In the most populous state in the nation — and the state with the largest number of registered voters — this takes time.
“In California, we believe in an inclusive and accessible democracy. We provide voters as many opportunities as possible to cast their ballots,” Padilla’s statement continues. “That is why we have no excuse vote by mail, automatic voter registration, same-day voter registration, and early voting. These reforms helped drive California’s historic registration and a 30 year high in midterm turnout. I stand with the thousands of elections officials and volunteers throughout the state who continue to work around the clock to ensure the accuracy and integrity of our elections.”
Padilla is absolutely right to defend California’s reasonable and fair system. Once again, we see Paul Ryan playing petty politics in the most inept and craven way possible. This country will be better off once he finally slinks of the national stage, never to be heard from again.