If House Speaker Paul Ryan's own Facebook page is any indication of how well he will fare in next Tuesday's all-important primary race against upstart challenger Paul Nehlen, it might not be smooth sailing for the 16-year incumbent come Election Day.
In fact, Ryan's campaign is showing signs of "melting down," at least if social media is to be taken as a barometer. The level of antipathy toward Ryan on his two Facebook sites has been heating up in recent days as the election draws closer.
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"There's such a deluge of comments negative to Paul Ryan on Ryan's own Facebook site. Ryan's problems with Trump are also a big factor in the backlash, you can see that in the comments," said William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration, or ALIPAC.
ALIPAC launched a new ad campaign earlier this week casting Ryan as "Lyin Ryan," a politician who supports Obama's amnesty orders and his expanded refugee resettlement programs, which funnel Shariah-compliant Muslims into more than 200 U.S. cities and towns from Syrian, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia by the tens of thousands annually.
The stream of Facebook comments are more than 90 percent negative against Ryan as voters express their disgust with Ryan's stance on trade and immigration.
Gheen said he noticed this momentum against Ryan started 48 hours after a WND article about Ryan's pro-refugee stance and the new ad campaign was linked to the Drudge Report.
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The GOP primary race for Wisconsin's first congressional district has come into national focus as Nehlen has shown himself more than capable of taking on the Ryan juggernaut. Ryan started out with a massive lead over the unknown Nehlen, an inventor who has employed hundreds in his successful water-filtration manufacturing business over the years.
As a one-time Ryan supporter, Nehlen decided to run against him because of the damaging effect Ryan-supported secret trade deals were having on all but the largest U.S. businesses. Immigration is his other hot-button issue, and he supports GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump on the need to rein it in, build a wall on the U.S. southern border and take a hard look at the numbers of Muslim migrants flooding into the country.
Gheen says he senses a turn in the race similar to what happened in Virginia in 2014, when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor went down in a stunning defeat to an unknown candidate named Dave Brat.
"The negative reaction we are seeing against Paul Ryan nationally is stronger than what we saw brewing against Eric Cantor the week before his political demise in 2014," said Gheen.
It's a general rule of thumb in politics that the candidate who spends the most wins 94 percent of the time.
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But there are exceptions, and often those exceptions occur when the underdog makes immigration his or her biggest issue, Gheen said.
Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., got outspent by Cantor by a 40 to 1 margin, yet Brat was able to vault ahead of a well-financed incumbent and shock the GOP establishment. Nehlen hopes to do the same. Ryan's strategy to counter the "Cantor effect" has been to simply misrepresent himself on immigration, lying about his desire to tighten up the border and implement better screening for refugees, Gheen said.
This despite the fact that Ryan negotiated a $1.1 trillion omnibus bill in December 2015 that fully funded all of Obama's amnesty and refugee expansion plans.
"But let's not kid ourselves, Paul Ryan is a Goliath, and whether he falls or not our plan is to throw as many rocks at him as we can," Gheen said. "He knows that not protecting the border and not protecting Americans is his Achilles' heel, and he needs to spend a lot of money pumping the lie out there. So you have many Wisconsin voters who only hear that lie, that expensively advertised lie, where he's telling them what they want to hear about himself, while doing something completely different with Obama in D.C."
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In many ways, the Ryan-Nehlen primary is a microcosm of the national Clinton-Trump race where one candidate represents the globalist establishment's interests and the other candidate represents populist issues that resonate with the beleaguered middle class.
"It's big money paying for big lies, and unfortunately that works most of the time. But what you're looking at right now in Paul Ryan's district – it's that big money with big lies that's killing America," Gheen said. "This race is the quintessential example of the root of what's wrong with America. It's the root of all American evil, with the money and the lies and the money backing the lies aimed at Republican voters."
Nehlen said in a July 30 interview with Fox Business Network's Lou Dobbs that he believes Ryan, if re-elected, would serve as a thorn in the side of a President Donald Trump.
“With one vote, we can take back our nation from Paul Ryan’s special interests,” Nehlen said. “With our one vote, we can stop TPP and stop amnesty. It is vitally important that we do this, because with President Trump in place, Paul Ryan will be nothing but a problem. He will thwart President Trump at every opportunity."
Watch Nehlen's interview with Lou Dobbs:
Schlafly endorses Nehlen
Nehlen also got good news Wednesday with an enthusiastic endorsement from legendary conservative Phyllis Schlafly, who said, "Paul Ryan is not an America-first guy."
While the momentum seems to be reaching a critical mass, the question is whether it will be too little, too late.
"It needs to be stronger, because from the numbers I've seen it looks like Ryan has more money than Cantor did," Gheen said.
Nehlen has raised more than twice the amount that Rep. Dave Brat raised – $200,000 – to defeat Cantor. But he is still being vastly outspent by Ryan's machine.
Ryan’s campaign reported raising about $5.5 million in the second quarter of the year, leaving him with $9.75 million cash on hand.
Nehlen raised about $489,000 during that same period.
Along with the huge money advantage, Ryan also enjoys the backing of the Wisconsin state GOP establishment and the national GOP.
Nehlen has accused state party leaders of banning his literature from party headquarters, not allowing him to have a tent at party events and other blatant attempts to hide his candidacy from voters.
"It's ridiculous, because people are going to these party tents, to these Republican victory offices, and my materials aren’t there," Nehlen told LifeZette. He said the speaker has betrayed his southeastern Wisconsin district on issues like immigration and trade. "The system is rigged against grassroots interests trying to get in."
Meanwhile, Ryan has posted a new campaign commercial on his Facebook page Tuesday night, "which falsely claims that he wants to secure America's borders and protect us from terrorism while in fact he has opposed border-security measures and advocated amnesty for illegals instead," Gheen said, all while talking tough against refugees but fully funding their arrival in American cities and towns.
Underneath the Ryan ad are numerous negative comments.
"You are only committed to maintaining your power! You care nothing about the American people," commented Lynn Foskey Sharpe.
"You won't even stand up to Obama. Don't feed us that trash," wrote Jimmy Henderson.
Below is a further sampling of the backlash against Ryan on his own pages and posts:
- Deborah Shiels: Please stop what you are doing against we the people out here. Don't you guy's get it? You NEVER listened to us or cared for us. Better start, or go work for one of your Chamber lobbyist forms, because we will kick you off the public servant dole you've been on for way too long.
- Chris Dodge: And as a RINO you also support poverty by supporting amnesty and resettlement of Syrians in the U.S. You also were the head and partial author of a trade agreement that puts Americans out of work so citizens of other nations can cash in on American jobs. So tell us again why anyone should support you.
- Sandra Mason: I used to like you.
- Rochelle Sollish: You keeping America strong? How? Shipping all our jobs overseas? Insourcing our jobs by admitting illegals and refugees? Taking our Social Security fund that we paid into for over 50 years and giving it to those who contributed nothing? Allowing trade deals that provide not a single benefit to us. Oh please, you don't give a damn about America or Americans. You only care about your growing nest egg. That's why the American people want you, McConnell and the rest of the make-believe "representatives" out of office.
- Jerry Bons: You betrayed We the People! Why in the hell would we stand with you? We the People are fed up with corrupt, lying, Obama-loving politicians like you.
- Jude Rose: The hell with you, Mr. Ryan. The American people chose Trump, and because you and your cronies want to maintain your power, you are willing to allow Hillary to win for your own personal reasons. You, Sir, are not true American. You're no better than Boehner.
- Jimmy Henderson: You won't even stand up to Obama. Don't feed us that trash.
- Gary J. King: Vote for "Paul Nehlen" for Congress; this guy, Ryan, will sell you down the river. He likes the bankers of Wall Street and open borders so illegals can take your jobs.
- Howard H. Wemple: Paul, you have become one of the entrenched elite RINOs, no different from the Democrat entrenched elites, just want to protect your scam.
Nehlen wins endorsement of gun group
Meanwhile, Nehlen picked up the endorsement Wednesday of the National Association for Gun Rights PAC, or NAGRPAC. In an email to supporters titled "Help us 'Cantor' Paul Ryan!" NAGRPAC Director Dudley Brown had this to say about the race:
“EVERY politician who advocates gun control can and should lose their job. Over the last several weeks, Paul Ryan chose to become the LOUDEST Republican voice for gun control in the House of Representatives.”
"You have a pro-gun choice in the August 9th primary. Candidate Paul Nehlen has pledged his support for the Second Amendment," Brown continued. "Paul Nehlen returned his National Association for Gun Rights Candidate Survey 100% pro-gun, promising to fight the gun grabbers and support pro-gun legislation! Please vote for Paul Nehlen in the August 9th Republican Primary."
Billionaire Koch brothers back Ryan
Nehlen is also hitting Ryan hard for his support of secretive trade deals that erode U.S. sovereignty and threaten U.S. workers, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
At a secretive retreat of billionaire conservative donors sponsored by Charles and David Koch at the posh Broadmoor Resort in Colorado on Monday, Ryan again pushed for multi-national so-called "free trade" deals that Donald Trump opposes.
At the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce gathering of some 400 donors who give at least $100,000 a year to Koch-affiliated organizations, Ryan reportedly raised the trade issue while taking yet another veiled swipe at the GOP’s presidential nominee…
“We’ve got to win some of these fights in Washington on behalf of the free-market system. We have our work cut out for us. … We have a different kind of (presidential) nominee now. It’s unique. … We’re having a hard time with our party these days.”
He was given a standing ovation.