Paul Ryan's exit marks another triumph of Trumpism: ANALYSIS

By announcing his retirement now, Ryan is getting ahead of a political storm.

He didn’t want to be Tom Foley.

Foley was House Speaker in 1994 when a Republican wave ended four decades of Democratic control of the House of Representatives. Foley, D-Wash., lost his reelection race that year in a shocking upset, and Democrats wouldn’t regain the House majority for a dozen years.

By announcing his retirement from Congress now, Ryan, R-Wis., is getting out ahead of the gathering political storm. Though few thought he was in serious danger of losing in November, the same cannot be said for the House majority he leads.

But Ryan’s retirement is already being read as a signal to donors and even many of his own colleagues that he believes Republicans are likely to lose control of the House this year. Insiders in both parties expect more GOP retirements, and money that might have flowed to save the jobs of endangered incumbents is almost certain to wind up flowing elsewhere.

It also leaves an already fractious Republican conference with a lame duck leader for the balance of the year. Ryan said he intends to “run through the tape” and complete his current term, but prospects for legislative advancement dim under the glow of possible leadership fights and fears of an electoral bloodbath.

Then came a new chapter for Ryan, one that may ultimately define his legacy more than anything in his two decades in public life. The Speaker largely put aside personal agreements with Trump to become the tip of his agenda’s spear – seldom allowing daylight between his public positions and the president’s.

“I'm grateful to the president for giving us this opportunity to do big things to get this country on the right track,” Ryan said in announcing his decision to leave Congress.

It’s an unlikely conclusion to a remarkable career that clashed with this improbable era in American politics. Ryan is walking away with much to be achieved, while Trump remains the dominant political figure in his party and in the country – with unpredictable consequences for all involved.