This is the third article of our “On the Stage” series, where the goal is to get to know each and every single candidate vying for the chance to take on President Donald J. Trump in the 2020 election as the Democratic nominee. As the first Democratic debates approach, we try to understand each of the candidates and their campaigns better.
Who is Tim Ryan?
Ohio native Tim Ryan has been in Congress since 2003, representing the 13th District of his home state for nine consecutive terms until the present. He served in the Ohio Senate for two years before his stint in Congress began. In 2016, he made an unsuccessful attempt to replace Rep. Nancy Pelosi as the House Minority Leader, before the Democrats regained their majority in the House of Representatives. He is also a member of the House Appropriations Committee, the body that is responsible for passing appropriations bills in the lower house.
How is Tim Ryan in the polls so far?
Although he has not had 65,000 individual contributors to his campaign, Tim Ryan has managed to meet the polling threshold to qualify or the first set of Democratic debates on June 26. An Iowa poll conducted in the period of April 4 – 9 by Monmouth University had him as the candidate of 1 percent of respondents, while 2 percent named him their choice in a statewide poll by the University of New Hampshire in April 10 – 18. Reuters/Ipsos also found him to be the preference of 1 percent of likely primary voters in a nationwide poll conducted last 17th to 23rd of April.
RealClearPolitics reports that he is currently tied for the 11th to 15th spots in the national race for the Democratic nomination, garnering an average of 0.5 percent among recognized polls along with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Governors Jay Inslee and John Hickenlooper, and former HUD Secretary Julian Castro. Statewide poll averages do not show him to have favorable numbers in most states that have had polls, except in New Hampshire where his averages places him in a tie at 10th with 0.5 percent along with Hickenlooper and Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.
How is Tim Ryan on the issues?
On the economy. Tim Ryan is a proponent for a “clean-energy economy”. He wants more educational programs in engineering, and more apprenticeships and training courses for modern jobs, all through federal funding. He also believes in reforming the nation’s penions and retirement programs, and has been a critic of some of his own fellow Democrats in his words that simply dumping more taxes on Americans wouldn’t make life easier if the welfare system is not relieved of its problems.
On China and foreign policy. Rep. Ryan does not oppose imposing tariffs on China per se, but he does believe that this shouldn’t be the main strategy of the United States in dealing with Beijing. He believes that tariffs should merely be a part of a larger strategy of outcompeting China in trade and commerce, which, on the American side of things, Tim Ryan believes entails investing in the production of electric vehicles, the usage of renewable energy, and other such ways to revolutionize the Ameican economy.
On the environment. As evidenced by Ryan’s stances on the economy and on China, he, like many other Democrats, have the environment in mind with their policies. Having said all these, Tim Ryan has expressed support for a Green New Deal, but not THE Green New Deal being pushed by the bloc of Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez. Instead, Ryan wants to involve the private sector more into the green initiatives being proposed, primarily through Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) instead of utilizing federal and state funding for all the initiatives. He believes that financial incentives, if enacted properly, can synergize with the numerous green initiatives that are sprouting everywhere on the Democratic side of the aisle.
On immigration. Tim Ryan supports the DREAM Act which provides a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients. He also proposes the formation of a non-partisan commission for immigration issues including border security, which he recognizes as a priority, as well as detention centers and processing facilities for incoming migrants.
On gun rights. Rep. Ryan was a former National Rifle Association member. Take note: former. Sandy Hook changed it all. Before 2012, he was a card-carrying member of the NRA and even had an A-rating from the pro-gun group. After the tragic shooting at Connecticut, he reconsidered his positions and eventually flipped. By 2017, he had been co-sponsoring brand new gun control legislation including an assault weapons ban and mandatory background checks. He has also donated $20,000 to multiple gun control organizations, matching the reported amounts that the NRA donated to him and his campaigns throughout the course of his earlier political career.
On education. Tim Ryan has co-sponsored three bills in the House of Representatives that aim to make obtaining a college education in a public institution to be both tuition- and debt-free through measures such are free community college and federal student aid programs. Besides these, he also wants to expand funding for STEM and music and arts programs for public schools. As opposed to some other candidates in the field, Tim Ryan does not fully oppose charter schools but instead wants to have improved transparency and accountability on the schools’ part, and this was encapsulated in his 2011 Charter School Accountability Act.
On healthcare. Congressman Ryan is actually a co-sponsor of the 2019 Medicare for All Act and supports a single-payer system similar to what the Sanders bloc wants. He also voted for the Affordable Care Act in 2017 and introduced legislation for the Medicare buy-in choice for citizens between 50 to 64 years of age.
The Outlook for Tim Ryan
Tim Ryan has not been silent in criticizing the POTUS. He’s stated that proper leadership isn’t being seen from the White House in the trade conflict with China (PBS); that he’s going to “fight for the Americans Trump abandoned” (CNN), implying that President Trump’s policies have left some Americans behind; that he believes the president doesn’t give a sh*t about the Constitution, and that he (Ryan) would push for impeachment proceedings to take place (The Hill). Whether or not he gets to bring all these to a 1-on-1 with the President is not yet sure, as a lot can and will happen from now until the Democratic primaries conclude. The current numbers, however, don’t exactly favor that, and he may have to remain content challenging POTUS from the House of Representatives.