The problem is, so does Nancy Pelosi.
Last Thursday, Rep. Tim Ryan made his intentions known that he wants to lead the Democratic Caucus as the House’s Minority Leader. The Ohio Democrat believes he would be able to bring some much needed new blood into the leadership roles of Democratic Party. The problem, the current Minority Leader in the House, California Representative Nancy Pelosi, has no interest in stepping down in the new session of Congress.
Before we go any further here, understand that Rep. Ryan’s bid for Minority Leader in the House is a longshot. Rep. Pelosi has the backing of the heads in the Democratic Party, so the chances of losing her seat as Minority Leader of the House are slim. However, Rep. Ryan’s bid for the House’s Minority Leader is an interesting pushback to the old guard of the Democratic Party that could signal a fundamental shift toward the future!
- One of the more interesting aspects of Rep. Ryan challenging Rep. Pelosi for her seat is how different both politicians actually are. As part of the Democratic old guard, Rep. Pelosi has been a consistent voice that has mirrored many stances of the Democratic Party. However, conventional wisdom is now blaming politicians like Rep. Pelosi for the Democrats losing in 2016. For many, Rep. Ryan represents the change the Democratic Party must become for them to be competitive in political races once again.
- Rep. Ryan is considered to be a “populist politician” among those who follow politics, and someone the Democratic Party should be pushing to be in more prominent roles. As a Representative for Youngstown, Ohio, his constituency primarily consists of working-class White and African-American voters. Or aka, the demographic that voted for Donald Trump in 2016.
- The appeal of Rep. Ryan is that he isn’t your traditional Democrat. On most social and environmental issues he skews toward being moderate, whereas Democrats lean more to the left. You can see this going as far back as 2003, when he was elected as a pro-life candidate! Yet when it comes to economic issues, he tends to fall within party lines. Particularly he tends to have a healthy skepticism when it comes to free trade. Many feel that Rep. Ryan’s positions make him particularly suited for attracting voters in the Rust Belt region.
- Even though Rep. Ryan is likely to lose this House leadership battle with Rep. Pelosi, politicians like him could be the future of the Democratic Party moving forward. While there are a whole host of questions regarding populist Democrats (will progressives in the Democratic Party embrace them, will voters be receptive to the change in message, ect), for the time being, politicians like Rep. Ryan looks to be where the party is heading.
(Photo Credit: Rep. Tim Ryan’s Instagram)