Former House Speaker Paul Ryan said only one of the Democratic contenders has a shot at beating President Trump.
The Wisconsin Republican told CNBC on Tuesday that former Vice President Joe Biden has the only true chance to defeat Trump in November, but he thinks Democrats will choose a more liberal nominee.
“I’d say he’s probably the most likely one to have a chance at beating Donald Trump, but I don’t see Joe getting the nomination, I just don’t see him getting there,” Ryan said at an event in Abu Dhabi. “I think it’s going to be one of these progressives, which I think will be much easier to beat.”
Ryan, who led the House from 2015 until retiring in 2019, said the key states for Democrats to win are Pennsylvania, Michigan, and his home state of Wisconsin. He said Biden, a “safe moderate,” could appeal to suburban voters there if he got the nod.
“It’s going to come down to the suburban [voter], it’s going to be the suburbanite that’ll basically be the difference-maker,” Ryan said.
Given Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’s recent surge in polling and Biden’s lackluster performance in the Iowa caucuses, Ryan said that the former vice president’s chances at securing the nomination are dwindling. He added that former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, another centrist, could disrupt the Democratic National Convention in July.
“If Bernie keeps racking up wins and is seen to be going toward the nomination, then you can probably make the case that Bloomberg will get enough proportional delegates, because he’ll play in enough states, to go into the convention with a claim, and then you’ll have one whale of a mess of a convention — in Milwaukee, and then we’ll see what happens there,” Ryan said.
“I don’t see Joe getting the nomination, but he’s the best bet the Democrats have,” he added.
Ryan spoke ahead of the polls closing in the New Hampshire primary, the second litmus test for Democrats vying for the nomination. A recent poll from New Hampshire has Sanders leading with 27% support, followed by Pete Buttigieg with 19%. Both Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren registered 12% support, behind Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who clocked in at 14% support.
The latest RealClearPolitics national average of polls showed Sanders leading for the first time since the race began. Sanders is polling nationally at 23%, followed by Biden at 20.4%, and Bloomberg at 13.6% support.