In a press release, Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA-8th) officially announced he was coming on board the Tim Ryan challenge to Nancy Pelosi’s leadership.
The Boston Democrat said Monday he respects Pelosi, but believes Democrats need to change direction and widen their focus to regain the trust of hard-working American families who are the party’s traditional base.
The former ironworker says he believes Ryan understands the plight of American workers and can help the party win back the support of what Lynch describes as “lunch bucket Democrats” who struggle to raise families but haven’t had a raise in a long time.
Lynch says Democrats are increasingly seen as a party of narrow interests backed by elites by ignoring the economic struggles of average Americans.
Lynch calls the recent election “an epic failure and another lost opportunity.”
I’ve had my disagreements with Lynch in the past over Iraq, ACA, choice, and LGBT rights. But he has really transformed himself since the loss to Ed Markey as a progressive on social and foreign policy while retaining an authenticity and consistency about labor, fair trade, and progressive economics. He ran against NAFTA long before Donald Trump did. Lynch grew up in a housing project and is a former labor organizer and iron worker, so he knows what it’s like to punch a clock that doesn’t have your name embossed on it. I still disagree with him from time to time, but I respect that he has always been his own man which allows him to take on long odd causes like this one.
Tim Ryan was a consistent critic of the Iraq Warthe and someone from humble origins having been raised by a single mother and going to state school on a football scholarship. His political mentor was Jim Traficant, the crazy and occasionally corrupt odd ball who used to say ‘beam me up’ on the floor of the House got his start as a sheriff who didn’t jail foreclosure victims and took their side. Ryan has followed in those populists footsteps consistently trying to keep and bring jobs to his district long hard hit by foreign trade, automation, and globalization.
This is the kind of district our party lost and needs to get back. And putting someone like Ryan in charge would be the fresh change we need from a party that only raises money from elites to a party that returns to grassroots organizing. He wants the DCCC to emulate Organizing for America, he wants to get the Sanders wing a leadership role in the House, and he refuses to waver on our historic commitment to equal justice for all-he just wants to emphasize the economic aspects of that mission just as much as the social aspects.
It’s time for a change. Our party can’t continue to languish in the minority and only represent the coasts. It’s time to make the Democratic Party democratic again, and this is a start. I will call my Congressmen Seth Moulton and urge him to join his colleague. I encourage you to do the same.