Why Paul Ryan made a Fake Presidential Ad

Why Paul Ryan made a Fake Presidential Ad

Last week, Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan confused a lot of people by releasing what amounted to a fake presidential ad. Despite the campaign music (and that is campaign music), the uplifting tone, and the cinematic shooting, Paul Ryan remains steadfast that he is not running for president. Check out the video below:

So why is he doing this? Here are four explanations for his confusing messaging.

#1 For Power

Paul Ryan is smart enough to realize the Republican Party is in shambles. The front-runners include the notorious businessman Donald Trump, and the hated-by-all-his-colleagues-in-the-Senate Ted Cruz. Speaker Ryan sees a vacuum in the leadership role of the Republican Party and he’s gunning for it. This ad sets him above the fray of campaign politics, and urges Republicans to remember the opportunity they could have had in 2012 – and to hope it may come again in the future. Ryan wants to be the voice of the Republican Party for years to come and is using this ad to seize an opportunity by exploiting the contrast between his uplifting and positive message with Cruz and Trump’s aggressive attacks on one another. Speaker Ryan is hoping this message will place him in high regards with voters, donors, and his colleagues, thus solidifying himself as the true leader of the Party. Not the candidates. Not Mitch McConnell. Just Paul Ryan.

#2 Just in case…

Paul Ryan was betting with house money. He may have released this ad on the off chance it went viral and a grassroots movement propelled him to the nomination. Of Course, with only 210,000 views, that didn’t happen. But even if that was his goal, a failure doesn’t hurt him in any memorable way. It still sets him apart from other Republicans and makes him look presidential – a look Republicans want him to get used to. But what if the video had received millions of views? In my opinion, he would absolutely have accepted a contested convention nomination (even though the rules wouldn’t allow it).

#3 Playing the Long Con

Paul Ryan sees the genius in Bernie’s use of historic and archived footage to prove his consistent messaging over the years. Not a purposeful strategy, but nevertheless a powerful one. By supplanting messaging in 2016 that he is “presidential”, he is forcing news pundits to talk about him as a real presidential contender. Because of his 2012 VP run with Mitt Romney, he has crafted a narrative of presidential involvement and establishment support. When he finally does decide to run, he’ll be able to point to pundits praising him in the past, especially against the backdrop of a Trump v Cruz spectacle.

#4 Kanye & 2020

Despite reconfirming he would not jump in in 2016, Speaker Ryan may just be getting an early start to his 2020 campaign – and he already has a lot working for him. Enter Kanye West.

With Hillary Clinton still expected to receive the Democratic nomination, low Democratic voter turnout should be expected in the general election. Assuming she wins, another low turnout would be expected in 2020. With the possibility of a Kanye candidacy, which would most likely target African Americans, it is likely to take a bite out of Hillary’s voter base. The bite may be enough to elevate Speaker Ryan to ousting Secretary Clinton after only one term.  Amazing.

Ryan Black is a documentary filmmaker, political consultant, and digital media professional who writes about Progressive Politics.

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