Democratic representative Tim Ryan of Ohio is a long shot to unseat Nancy Pelosi in the vote for the minority leadership position to be held tomorrow, but he's convinced that "a lot of people are going to be surprised" by the vote tallies.
“I think a lot of people are going to be surprised tomorrow.”
“I think we need a change. Again, we’re at the smallest number we’ve had in our Democratic caucus since 1929.”
"We really got to ask ourselves when we walk out of the room tomorrow, what are we going to tell the American people? That what happened on Tuesday and what we've not been able to do since 2010 is ok? We're gonna keep going down the same path. Or, will we have a new messenger, a new message, a new brand and a new democratic party?"
Ryan has launched a bid to unseat Pelosi based largely on the premise that Rust Belt voters in the Midwest have abandoned the democratic party precisely because of the elitism exhibited the San Francisco liberal. While Pelosi is known for her ability to raise substantial amounts of cash for the democratic party, $141 million in the past cycle alone according to The Hill, Ryan argues that electing a House leader with a broader appeal is far more important.
Ryan’s challenge hinges largely on the argument that Pelosi, a San Francisco liberal widely despised in conservative circles, simply projects the wrong image for a party hoping to broaden its appeal to the Rust Belt voters who flocked to Trump.
“We have got to have the right messenger,” he said. “We have got to have someone who cannot just go on MSNBC, but go on Fox and Fox Business and CNBC and go into union halls and fish fries and churches all over the country and start a brush fire about what a new Democratic Party looks like.”
Leader Pelosi is an incredibly strong fundraiser, she’s an incredibly dynamic leader, she gets out there and gets the caucus to do things together that most other leaders would have a very hard time doing. But that’s come at an expense,” a former Democratic leadership aide said Monday.
Pelosi also has a huge advantage when it comes to fundraising, having hauled in more than $141 million for the party this cycle alone, according to her office. Ryan, by contrast, raised less than $1 million — far less than the average member, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Of course, some democrats apparently learned absolutely nothing from the 2016 presidential election and still insist that Pelosi's fundraising efforts are critical to the future of the party. But as Tim Ryan points out "if money was the answer, Hillary Clinton would be president and we would be in charge of the House of Representatives right now.”
“The most important messenger in American politics is money, and the ability to get on the air, get on social media, get on media that are relevant to voters is really expensive, and she has done a phenomenal job at giving us that opportunity,” the former lawmaker said Monday. “I don’t think there’s anyone who can come close to matching what she has done.”
Ryan has rejected that argument, saying the focus on campaign cash is misguided.
Meanwhile, Ryan has also drawn support from a host of young House democrats who have been prevented from rising up the leadership ranks by a stagnant group of Pelosi loyalists.
The elections have also heightened long-standing aggravations among newer members that the long reign of Pelosi and her top deputies — all of whom are in their mid-70s — has prevented other members from rising through the leadership ranks.
“There’s a generation of Democratic leaders who have been stymied or held down or even cut off at the knees to keep her and [Maryland Rep. Steny] Hoyer and others in power,” the former aide added.
“So you have a number of members who look at the agendas and question why, when the country is worried about the economy and jobs, the Democrats are out talking about women power and some of the core liberal issues that aren’t going to play well in the places that Democrats have to win if they’re going to take back the majority.”
Certainly, if the democrats learned anything from the 2016 presidential election they would understand that it represented a rebellion of the American people against establishment political figures like Nancy Pelosi. That said, somehow we suspect the message hasn't quite sunk in yet.