Former House Speaker Paul Ryan plans to condemn the populist appeal of former President Donald Trump during a Thursday evening speech at the Reagan library.
“If the conservative cause depends on the populist appeal of one personality, or on second-rate imitations, then we’re not going anywhere,” Ryan plans to say according to speech excerpts released to Punchbowl News.
To win back the majority in Congress, Ryan will predict, Republicans need to focus on “conservative principles” and be agreeable.
“We win majorities by directing our loyalty and respect to voters, and by staying faithful to the conservative principles that unite us,” he plans to say. “This was true even when the person leading our movement was as impressive, polished, and agreeable as they come.”
President Joe Biden, Ryan will argue, won in 2020 by projecting himself as a “nice guy” who would move the country to the center but instead pursued a more leftist agenda than voters thought he would.
“These policies might have the full approval of his progressive supporters, but they break faith with the middle-of-the-road folks who made the difference for him on Election Day,” he will say.
Ryan will also ask conservatives to resist fighting every cultural battle picked by the left, suggesting that ordinary Americans are growing tired of the culture clash.
“We conservatives have to be careful not to get caught up in every little cultural battle,” Ryan will say. “Sometimes these skirmishes are just creations of outrage peddlers, detached from reality and not worth anybody’s time.”
Ryan will argue that Republicans are getting too distracted by minor grievances.
“Culture matters, yes, but our party must be defined by more than a tussle over the latest grievance or perceived slight,” he plans to say.
Ryan appears clearly concerned about the 74,222,958 voters that Trump rallied to his side in 2020 with his fighting style and populist brand of politics. Running with Mitt Romney on the 2012 Republican presidential ticket, Paul Ryan earned only 60,933,504 votes.
To win again, Ryan will argue, conservatives need to return to a more mild form of politics and offer principled conservative solutions.
“We must not let them take priority over solutions – grounded in principle – to improve people’s lives,” he will say.