In the weeks leading up to the 2016 election, Prof. Arkes writes “An Appeal to Paul Ryan,” a column in the Claremont Review Digital Edition which recapitulates the Professor’s stance on why conservative Republicans can and should support Donald Trump on November 8th. In this piece, he notes the particular value there is to having a Republican president in office, which empowers other republican politicians to do their good work.
“Paul Ryan, the Republican Speaker of the House, has made his own judgment clear enough, but in a lacerating way for the party that continues to link them. Ryan himself has acknowledged that link, for he has made clear that his aversion to Trump cannot displace his serious interest in having a president who will indeed sign the conservative measures that Ryan has exerted his genius to shape and enact. How could it possibly be coherent for him to stand aside now without making at least one dramatic effort to remind the public of three or four key issues at stake on November 8th? We need the equivalent of the Morningside Heights Meeting, held by Dwight Eisenhower and Robert Taft in 1952 to bring the warring sides of the Republican party together after the bruising convention that nominated Ike. Such a meeting could help concentrate the public mind, if Ryan were joined by Mitch McConnell, the Majority leader of the Senate, and reminded voters of what a Republican Congress would mean, if it could get its measures signed. It would be all the better if they could be joined by a presidential candidate who recovers his focus. But if Ryan cannot bear Trump’s company, he could use the old device of having an empty chair there. He could remind people that they are counting on the occupant of that chair to do what a Republican nominee has promised to do in completing this mission of the party. If Trump, in a fit of pique, denies that he is that Republican candidate, it may be warrant enough for the party to remove him from the ticket and dial 911 for Mike Pence.”
Read the whole piece here.