MONDAY, JANUARY 31, 2022
The Ohio 88: Here at this award-winning site, we're praying for Candidate Ryan.
We refer to Candidate Tim Ryan, the six-term Democratic congressman who's running for the open Senate seat in Ohio.
For whatever it's worth, we're also praying for Candidate Morgan Harper, who's running for the same Senate seat. But since Ryan is profiled in the Washington Post today, we're going to focus on him.
To be more specific, Ryan and Harper are currently seeking the Democratic nomination for that open Senate seat. In the Post, Michael Scherer starts his profile of Ryan as shown:
SCHERER (1/31/22): Congressman Tim Ryan has been traveling the foothills of western Appalachia with a joke about marriage he hopes will make him Ohio’s next U.S. Senator.
The voters he needs to turn his way—the forgotten, the struggling, in communities with hollow factories, Trump flags and fentanyl epidemics—don’t agree with everything he stands for as a Democrat. But then, he asks his small crowds, who does?
“If my wife and I have 10 conversations in one day and we agree on six or seven of them, we crack a bottle of wine and celebrate how great our marriage is,” he said at a recent stop here along the Ohio River, just a few blocks from an empty brownfield where furnaces once burned. “So why would you think you are going to agree with someone 100 percent of the time?”
Ryan’s bet—and the national Democratic dream—is that a few issues still just might matter more than his party label. He lists three whenever he speaks, after talking up his small-town upbringing and all of his union relatives who once worked at steel plants or auto suppliers...
It may be that Ryan won't win the nomination. it may be that Morgan will. But if Ryan ends up as the nominee, will he able to draw white working-class voters (among others) back into the Democratic Party fold?
We're praying that he will! Scherer defines this part of the party's political problem:
SCHERER: The pitch has made Ryan one of the most consequential Democratic candidates of the 2022 cycle, a test case on whether his party has any hope of reclaiming its erstwhile White working-class voting base, as former president Donald Trump, who sped their flight, waits in the wings. The struggle is, by any measure, uphill—Democrats have just one statewide win in the former swing state since 2012—and Republicans remain favored to replace retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R) in November.
Republicans during the Trump years ceded strength in the college-educated suburbs to make inroads among Whites and Hispanics without college degrees in more rural areas. Issues like political correctness and disdain for political elites accelerated the drift, hitting the Democratic Party hardest among White working-class voters, who have the ability to decide elections in the presidential swing states that border the Great Lakes.
Republicans nationwide got votes from 50 percent of Whites without college degrees in 2000, when George W. Bush ran, and just 45 percent in 2008 at the end of Barack Obama’s first campaign. Trump won in 2016 with 62 percent of the same voters, with only a slight drop-off to 59 percent in 2020, according to data compiled by the American National Election Studies.
The near-term future of the party, and the next presidential contest in 2024, may well depend on whether the party can reclaim some of its old appeal, much like Sen. Sherrod Brown, the last Democrat to win statewide in Ohio, did in his 2018 race.
The GOP moved from 45% of that vote all the way up to 62! Can Democrats regain some of that lost vote? We pray they'll be able to do so! And Ryan is out there pushing hard. Here's how hard he's working:
SCHERER: With less than 10 months to go before the general election, Ryan has already visited 72 of the state’s 88 counties in a full-press effort to try to persuade the hinterlands, a handful at a time, that Democrats like him are human beings who breathe the same air...
Ryan has already visited 72 of Ohio's 88 counties! Sadly, pathetically, this question comes to mind:
How many of those 88 counties are actually Bumfuck Counties? How many voters in those counties know they're openly viewed that way by many people in our self-impressed liberal tribe?
Last Friday, Kevin Drum citation of "East Bumfuck County" was surprising, strange, disappointing. For a background report, just click here.
Drum's citation was disappointing—but at that point, the floodgates opened. The comments to his post were appalling, but were also highly instructive.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but our tribe is full of loathing and otherization. The otherization to which we refer is very, very, very dumb. It's also self-defeating.
Bill Clinton "believed in a place called Hope." Many members of our tribe believe in a place called Bumfuck.
We're often eager to showcase this view. We'll ponder the topic all week.
Tomorrow: "The rat smart thing to do?"