Despite the results of the 2020 election appearing to break in favor Democratic president-elect Joe Biden, it looks like there are some fissures erupting in support for the party’s increasingly radical agenda.
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) broke with the Democrat narrative to sound the alarm that his party could continue to lose local elections because of their unpopular national politics. He won re-election to the 13th Congressional District seat in his state, but lost his home county because the Democratic party’s “brand is not good.”
Ryan blamed radical Democratic politics for the mass exodus of working-class voters who used to be a reliably solid electoral base. He pointed to Twitter’s echo chamber that led many tone-deaf congressional members and staffers to assume that fighting for issues such as social justice were paramount, even in the heart of the Midwest.
The moderate Democrat won re-election by 7% against Republican challenger Christina Hagan, but lost in his own backyard by 1.5%. “It was a tough year for a lot of moderate Democrats around here and around the country,” Ryan told the Washington Examiner
“Our brand is not good,” Ryan said. “We have 70 million people who either hate us or are afraid of us or believe there is this vast spread of socialism in our party. It is why we lost so many seats in the House, or some seats were a lot closer than we wanted.”
Republicans are on track to gain 13 seats nationally after last week’s election, despite the runup polling projecting a 15 to 20 seat loss. Like Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA) who also blamed radical members of the party for his narrowly won race, Ryan believes that local politics has become swept up in the national narratives. Politicians like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) trumpet policies that mostly resonate with people on the coasts.
“There are many people who think my party has abandoned them,” Ryan said. “I think if we start having really tangible results on the economy, on COVID, a good infrastructure package, we have the chance to head towards the midterm on a pretty good economy.”
Ryan said it “could be an interesting time to be running for a Democrat” with that kind of political capital. “Under a new brand with a good economy, it could look more the Clinton economy of ’96, than the Clinton economy in ’94,” he said. Many say former President Bill Clinton’s years of prosperity were spurred on by Republicans balancing the federal budget, however.
The unveiled, gloves-off radical leftist agenda seems to be a losing strategy, which is why even Biden moderated his rhetoric and spoke vaguely of patriotism and unity. Indeed, Ryan called on Biden to “put a new name, a new brand on the party.” In other words, he wants the party to become more Republican.