Republican Race Puts Donald Trump and Paul Ryan on Collision Course
WASHINGTON — Speaker Paul D. Ryan, chairman of the Republican National Convention, recent vice-presidential candidate and the highest elected Republican in the country, has one goal for this year: to form a conservative policy agenda for the Republican presidential nominee to embrace.
If that nominee is Donald J. Trump, that may be a waste of time.
Panicked Republicans question whether Mr. Trump will be able to unite a Republican-controlled Congress that would normally be expected to promote and promulgate his agenda, an internal crisis nearly unheard-of in a generation of American politics. On nearly every significant issue, Mr. Trump stands in opposition to Republican orthodoxy and his party’s policy prescriptions — the very ideas that Mr. Ryan has done more than anyone else to form, refine or promote over the last decade.
If the billionaire New York businessman captures his party’s nomination — which seemed increasingly possible after a decisive victory in Nevada on Tuesday night — he will become the titular head of the Republican Party, and lawmakers like Mr. Ryan will be expected to fall in line for the balance of the campaign. It is something that many in the party think may be impossible.
“You’re hitting on a very big problem, which is that Trump is not a Republican,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who dropped out of the race for the White House in December “I have no idea how we reconcile a Donald Trump agenda with a Republican agenda. How do we write a platform?”