Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan is the latest Democrat to jump into the 2020 race, announcing his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination during a Thursday appearance on ABC's “The View.”
"Our country has been divided for a long time," Ryan said. "The first thing we have to do is unify."
In making his 2020 run official, Ryan told a story of his daughter calling him a few weeks ago in tears because one of her friend's father was transferred from a local General Motors plant.
"My daughter called me and she said, 'You got to do something.' And I said, 'I'm going to do something. I'm going to run for president of the United States. We're going to make sure this doesn't happen anymore,' Ryan recalled.
The Ohio congressman also laid out his pitch to make America a leader in environmental manufacturing industries such as wind, solar, and electric car production. "There's so many industries out there growing. Wind and solar is growing at 25% to 30% a year. Electric vehicles, there's 2 million made today," Ryan said. "By 2030 there will be 30 million electric vehicles. I want those vehicles made in the United States."
"View" co-host Abby Huntsman noted that some of Ryan's rhetoric, especially his claim that China "currently dominates 40% of the electrical vehicle market" sounded a lot like Trump’s pitch in 2016. "Here's Trump's problem, among several," Ryan quibbled to laughter from the in-studio audience. "He plays the old school politics. He wants to go back to the old economy. He's talking about old steel mills and old coal mines. I'm saying where are our kids going to work?"
"How do we come together, the best of government, the best of the workforce, the best of the free enterprise system and dominate the electric vehicle market so we're creating jobs?" Ryan said, arguing that "Trump has been full of promises and hasn't delivered anything. He's forgotten us."
Speculation regarding Ryan’s 2020 plans ramped up last year after the eight-term representative started popping up in early key primary states including Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. At the time, Ryan made it clear he wouldn’t make a decision on whether or not to run in 2020 until after the 2018 midterm elections. “I think we’ve got to figure out what happens in November,” Ryan said. “The key is take the House back, play a role, be active.”
The Democratic moderate, who has represented Ohio’s 13th district since 2003, had reportedly flirted with running for higher office in the past, including taking long looks at the Ohio governorship in 2014 and a run for Senate in 2018 before ultimately choosing to remain in Congress.
Ryan gained national attention back in 2016 for his failed challenge to longtime mentor Nancy Pelosi over who should lead House Democrats. He also flirted with running for leadership again after Democrats took back control of the House of Representatives in 2018 before ultimately supporting Pelosi as Speaker.
Ryan’s entry into 2020 politics could be one to watch given the field has been primarily dominated by more progressive voices thus far. While he has moved to the left on certain key issues over the years, including flipping his self proclaimed “pro-life” stance on abortion, Ryan remains one of the more moderate Democrats now running for the White House within a group of politicians seemingly often trying to out-progressive one another.
On a number of the key issues dominating the Democratic primary so far, Ryan lands in the middle. He didn’t support the Green New Deal, telling the Washington Examiner “I appreciate the aspiration, but I won’t be signing on.”
During a recent trip to New Hampshire, Ryan also appeared to reference the Green New Deal, which would look to take drastic measures to address climate change, by making a pro-business pitch that the United States “can’t green the economy without the power of the free-market system.”
And with some leaders in the Democratic party like freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and others targeting billionaires and big business in favor of more progressive policies, Ryan’s tactic of preaching unity and the need to “[come] together” and be “engaged with the business community” in order to solve problems appears to offer an alternative to some of the louder voices currently grabbing headlines within the party.
“You can be hostile to greed, you can be hostile to income inequality, you can be for raising rates, you can be for taxing capital instead of labor,” Ryan said in February. “But you can’t be hostile to business.”
Ryan will have to outlast nearly 20 other Democratic hopefuls aiming to make President Donald Trump a one-term president.