Despite the fact that Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich are the three remaining candidates in the running for the Republican presidential nomination and — if things go their way — the White House, a fourth name keeps coming up that hasn’t been on the ballot in any state primaries or caucuses. That name is Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House and the highest-ranking Republican official currently working in the federal government. The Wisconsin representative has made it clear that he isn’t campaigning for the Republican nomination, but a new video posted to his official YouTube account suggests otherwise.
In the 43-second clip, titled “Politics These Days,” Ryan gives ambiguous comments criticizing American partisan politics to an audience of House interns:
“What really bothers me the most about politics these days is this notion of identity politics. That we’re going to win an election by dividing people, rather than inspiring people on our common humanity, and our common ideals, and our common culture, and the things that should unify us. We all want to be prosperous, we all want to be healthy, we want everybody to succeed, we want people to reach their potential in their lives. Now liberals and conservatives are going to disagree with one another on that. No problem. That’s what this is all about. So let’s have a battle of ideas. Let’s have a contest of whose ideas are better and why our ideas our better.”
Ryan says all of this while name-dropping his office’s “Confident America” initiative. (There’s even a hashtag for it, #ConfidentAmerica.) Among other things, this plan — by which “House Republicans are developing a bold, pro-growth agenda to take to the country” — includes a series of platforms that read an awful lot like a “Positions” page on the Trump, Cruz or Kasich campaign websites. Topics include “National Security,” “Job and Economic Growth,” “Health Care,” “Poverty and Opportunity” and “Constitutional Authority.” Each is supported by text and links that mostly condemn President Barack Obama’s administration and, by extension, the Democratic Party.