Ignore The Bullshit About Him Being Just Like Sherrod Brown
Despite what you’re hearing from media folks who don’t know any better and from Democratic strategists who do, Tim Ryan is not Sherrod Brown. Brown is a progressive populist. Ryan is just a careerist trying to emulate what his strategists think of the parts of Brown that get him elected in increasingly red Ohio. And it’s working. The idea seems to be for Ryan to sound as much like a Republican to lure in mainstream Republicans and right-leaning independents repulsed by JD Vance, while counting on Democrats to be so desperate for a win that they’ll vote for him anyway.
In 2020, Trump won Ohio handily, 3,154,834 (53.3%) to 2,679,165 (45.2%). Trump won 81 of Ohio’s 88 counties. Biden won 7, one less than Hillary. (Obama won Ohio both times and took 22 counties in 2008 and 17 in 2012.) Ohio’s PVI is R+6, significantly the the right of not just swing states like Florida, North Carolina, Georgia and Arizona, but to the right of Texas! And yet, most polls show Ryan next and neck with Vance. The latest FiveThirtyEight polling average shows Ryan ahead by half a point:
And the most recent nonpartisan poll, last week by Siena has Ryan leading Vance 46-43%. That same poll shows Republican Mike DeWine leading Democratic challenger Nan Whaley by 23 points.
This morning, Douglas Belkin and John McCormick reported that Ryan’s competitive bid for the Ohio Senate seat “is offering his party a potential model for appealing to working-class voters in the Rust Belt and forcing Republicans to expend resources to beat him. Ryan, who avoids calling himself a Democrat, has broken with his party in opposing President Biden’s student debt forgiveness plan and says Democrats erred in pushing for many Americans to get college degrees.” If that doesn’t sound bad enough, they noted that Ryan frequently mentions that he agrees with Trump on China trade policy and criticizes Biden for considering rolling back some of Trump’s import tariffs.
I hope Vance loses. But you may have noticed that Ryan isn’t on the Blue America Senate page with John Fetterman, Raphael Warnock and Mandela Barnes. Tim Ryan’s career trajectory is of no concern to me— other than to be wary of it since he’s proven himself to be a scumbag in Congress— especially not while he’s diminishing the already struggling Democratic brand for his own purposes.
During recent campaign stops, Ryan described himself as an outsider from a forgotten steel mill town with an independent record tailored to helping his district. “I don’t have time to defend a bad Democratic brand,” the 49-year-old said at a VFW hall in rural Scioto County.
Ryan said he believes Democrats exacerbated culture divides in emphasizing the need for a college degree— and alienated those who don’t get one. “We’ve stigmatized them as somehow ‘you will never have a dignified job or you’re somehow less than the people who will go to college,’ ” he said at a campaign stop in Portsmouth.
The student-loan forgiveness plan gives the impression that “these guys deserve a bailout,” Ryan said. “But if you bought a truck and went into the union and became an apprentice, you’re not getting any help. You’ve got to pay your loan back.”
No wonder Joe Manchin says he is more enthusiastic about the Democrats flipping Ohio— where Ryan backed his dirty deal to make the Climate Crisis worse— than Pennsylvania! There's little doubt than a political jellyfish like Tim Ryan would behave more like Joe Manchin in the Senate than like Sherrod Brown-- and that's just fine with the "Any Blue Will Do" crowd.
Belkin and McCormick wrote that “On the campaign trail, Ryan and Vance both highlight their support for greater border security as a tactic to limit the illegal importation of fentanyl from Mexico.” At least Ryan hasn’t followed Vance into his embrace of racism. One of Vance’s TV ads asks viewers if they’re racists for wanting to build a border wall. And he uses the divisive GOP tactic that has its racist candidates insisting that giving priority to underrepresented minorities in the college admissions process discriminates against white and Asian students. I bet Ryan wishes he could figure out a way of saying that too without alienating too many voters from his base! Instead, report Belkin and McCormick, “Ryan has largely avoided contentious culture issues and instead has portrayed ance as a carpetbagger at the beck and call of the corporate executives whose donations have funded his campaign.”
At a rally in support of Vance in September, Trump said, “J.D. is kissing my ass, he wants my support.”
Ryan responded on the campaign trail. “Do you want someone who is going to fight for Ohio to rebuild the middle class, even if it means taking on their own party?” Ryan asked. “Or do you want someone who is now widely known as an ass kisser?”
A spokesman for Vance’s campaign, Taylor Van Kirk, said that Ryan was calling Vance names to distract from his support of Biden’s policies.
Nationally, the North Carolina Senate race has been flying relatively below the radar. And the Democratic nominee, Cheri Beasley— a garden variety Clinton-type Democrat— has been seriously out-performing. North Carolina isn’t just a state Trump won both times, it is also a state where there has only been one Democratic presidential win since 1976— Obama by 0.32% in 2008. The last time the state elected a Democrat to the Senate was when one-termer Kay Hagen beat one-termer Elizabeth Dole in 2008. With Richard Burr retiring there is a rare open Senate seat in the state. That the obvious choice for the GOP, former Gov. Pat McCrory, was denied the nomination by an off-the-cuff Trump endorsement of very far right-wing Congressman Ted Budd, gave the Democrats more of a shot than they expected. And polling shows the race pretty much tied:
Beasley has out-raised Budd $15,932,004 to $6,334,531 and she is going into the final month with $4,821,927 to his $1,783,167. Outside money, on the other hand, has massively favored Budd— $37 million to $8 million. That’s likely to swing the race to Budd in the last few weeks even with the most current polls showing a dead-heat:
Or can Budd proven himself to be the greater evil in the eyes of swing voters. Yesterday, Jezebel’s Kylie Cheung demonstrated one way it could happen. Budd, she wrote, “is one of two sitting U.S. congressmen to own a gun store, and his advertises on its website an insurance provider that supports gun owners who face domestic violence charges. Some advocates and family members of gun violence victims have called insurance plans like this— which have also been advertised by the NRA— ‘murder insurance.’ Budd’s store, ProShots, is located in Rural Hall, North Carolina, and in advertising U.S. Law Shield insurance, the Senate candidate seems unnervingly willing to help customers who might use their guns from ProShots to hurt or threaten partners or family members. Budd holds an A-rating from the NRA for his votes against gun safety legislation, and the group has also endorsed him in his Senate race. U.S. Law Shield offers legal representation and other support to its members who face criminal or civil charges for use of force, and also offers bail bonds, coverage for ‘negligent’ or ‘accidental’ discharge of a firearm, and protection against prosecution under North Carolina’s Wildlife Resource Commission regulations.”
Cheung noted that “With midterm elections just weeks away, gun violence may be front-of-mind for voters, following a year that saw the horrific Uvalde, Texas mass shooting, and a string of others in Buffalo, New York; Sacramento, California; Highland Park, Illinois; and more. Yet, in North Carolina’s race for U.S. Senate, one of the candidates seems more interested in helping gun-owning abusers advocate for themselves than in preventing the inevitable next mass shooting— statistically likely to be perpetrated by a domestic abuser.”
In a race this close, it could make enough of a difference for the handful of swing voters who will decide which candidate wins. Meanwhile, Tim Ryan would be less offensive if he takes a look at how Beasley is handling one of his own signature campaign issues: