Mere months after being routed by Paul Ryan in the Wisconsin primary, businessman Paul Nehlen is challenging the Speaker again.
Last Tuesday, Nehlen announced that he was throwing his hat into the ring — not for Ryan’s congressional seat, but for his job as Speaker of the House.
“Real America knows that D.C. lives in a bubble, and that the power players inside the Beltway are concerned with their own fortunes rather than with the plight of the American worker and middle class,” Nehlen said in a statement, going on to call Ryan “a man who bends over backward to deliver President Obama’s agenda.”
During Nehlen’s Breitbart-fueled primary run, he styled himself as a champion of the people, taking on the “soulless globalist” Ryan. But his campaign came to an ignominious end on August 9 when the incumbent defeated him by a margin of 60 points.
It’s difficult to take Nehlen’s latest challenge seriously. When a populist insurrectionist is so soundly rejected by the people he claims to represent, it’s generally a good sign that it’s time to bow gracefully out. Instead, Nehlen is choosing to ignore the will of Wisconsin’s voters by continuing to challenge the authority of their overwhelmingly preferred congressman.
It’s also hard to picture a firebrand like Nehlen faring better in the House’s internal election than in his own home state. After all, isn’t Congress where all those feckless Establishment types reside?
In the real world, Nehlen has the same chance of winning the Speakership that he had of winning his primary — exactly none. But this, of course, is not the point. A figure like Nehlen continues to thrust himself into the public eye purely to build up his personal brand. In the primary, it worked: he gained endorsements from top-flight iconoclasts like Ann Coulter and Sarah Palin. This most recent stunt is merely an attempt to increase his gains.
The anger that conservative voters feel toward Washington’s Establishment class is well-founded. It’s too bad so much of it goes to fuel self-serving interlopers like Nehlen rather than real change.