The latest in a seemingly endless series of political earthquakes shook the country Wednesday, when Speaker of the House Paul Ryan of Wisconsin announced he will not seek re-election. There had long been rumors that he would retire in the next year or so, but Ryan’s announcement stunned both Republicans and Democrats.
The decision comes during a difficult period for Republican officeholders, as Democrats have won special elections and statewide races for seats that had previously been seen as safely in the hands of the GOP.
"This sort of an announcement feels like he’s running up the white flag on the House Republican majority," says news analyst, Charlie Sykes. "It really complicates the effort of Republicans to hold the House, he was the prolific fundraiser - it’s going to feed this narrative of the 'blue wave' in a rather dramatic way."
Sykes is the author of several books, the latest of which is How The Right Lost Its Mind. He is a regular commentator on MSNBC, and an occasional Lake Effect news analyst.