Let the white-knight speculation begin! John Kasich’s victory in Ohio on Tuesday moved Republicans one step closer to a contested convention, setting up the possibility that the GOP denies Donald Trump the nomination this summer and instead gives it to someone who wasn’t even running for president this year.
It’s a long shot—but, then again, stranger (strangely coiffed) things have happened. What say you, Paul Ryan? "You know, I haven't given any thought to this stuff," the House speaker told CNBC during an interview on Tuesday night. "People say, 'What about the contested convention?' I say, well, there are a lot of people running for president. We'll see. Who knows."
We’ll see! Who knows! It’s difficult to mistake that as Ryan offering himself up to his fellow Republicans as the compromise candidate they may need—but, then again, it’s not a full-throated denial either. For a GOP establishment desperate to stop Trump from becoming the nominee, Ryan’s open-ended answer will be the second best piece of news they’ve gotten this week.
Update, March 16, 2016, 10:55 a.m.: Wednesday morning, Politico reported that former House Speaker John Boehner has endorsed the Ryan-for-president plan:
"If we don't have a nominee who can win on the first ballot, I'm for none of the above," Boehner said at the Futures Industry Association conference here. "They all had a chance to win. None of them won. So I'm for none of the above. I'm for Paul Ryan to be our nominee.”
Politico also reports that Boehner called Ted Cruz “lucifer” at the same event.
For his part, Ryan has now backtracked on his earlier “we’ll see”:
Post Boehner news, Paul Ryan spox: "He will not accept a nomination and believes our nominee should be someone who ran this year." #2016— Alex Moe (@AlexNBCNews) March 16, 2016
Elsewhere in Slate: