Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH-13) joined his fellow presidential competitors in South Carolina Saturday for the South Carolina Democratic Party State Convention. Ryan delivered a fiery speech on the importance of nominating a candidate from the Midwest, and urged South Carolinians to “send Lindsey Graham packing.”
“I believe that the next President of the United States must deeply, deeply understand the struggles that the American people are going through today and have been going through for the last three or four decades. The pain, the suffering, the addiction, the mental health issues, the erosion of the tax base, the lack of investments in our schools and in our health are a direct result of us not having a robust middle class,” Ryan said.
“I think it’s important for you to know that when those factories close down, I know who’s working in them,” he said, emphasizing his background as a congressman from a working-class community.
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“My wife teaches their kids. When the General Motors factory closes down, my daughter calls me in tears because her friend’s dad lost his job. This is deeply personal to us,” he added.
Ryan said he believes the Democratic Party needs to nominate a candidate who comes “from an area that has experienced that deep suffering.”
“Now all this has happened while the top one percent runs away with all the gold. The top one percent now controls 90 percent of the wealth in this country. I want to help us with an industrial policy in the United States so we start building things again in the United States, we start manufacturing things again in the United States, and we cut the workers in on the deal,” Ryan said to applause.
Ryan went on to suggest that the Republican Party is to blame for the rise of identity politics in America.
“The right-wingers have tried to divide us. Who’s black? Who’s white? Who’s gay? Who’s straight? Who’s in the union? Who’s not in the union? Who’s from the north? Who’s from the south? Who’s urban? Who’s rural? Divide, divide, divide, divide,” Ryan said. “And while they have divided us, they run away with all the money.”
“I swear to God I will pull every lever, I will use every ounce of power that I have—every ounce of convening power, executive authority—to help us rebuild the working class in the United States of America,” he continued.
Ryan concluded by asking the crowd to “imagine a Tim Ryan as the nominee.”
“I want you to imagine that our nominee changes the center of gravity for the Democratic Party. We will no longer be a coastal party, we will no longer be an Ivy League party. Imagine us a blue-collar party with a nominee from a place like Youngstown, Ohio,” he said, claiming this would allow the Democratic Party to “start competing in places like Kentucky for Senate seats so we can send Mitch McConnell home.”
“It means we can build a long-term, sustainable majority by winning Senate seats in North Carolina by making them play defense. I’m so tired as a Democrat of playing defense,” he concluded his speech. “I want us to play offense in the Senate races. I want to go to Iowa and win that Senate seat. I want to go to Missouri and win the Senate seat. I want to win Senate seats in Florida, in North Carolina, but most importantly I want to make sure that I can be the nominee that comes back to South Carolina and helps the Senate candidate here send Lindsey Graham packing.”
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