WORKIN' IT

The announcement that bland Ohioan Tim Ryan is going to throw his hat into the ring for the Democratic nomination are infuriating for reasons that have little to do with Ryan himself. Like 99.9% of people outside the area he represents in Congress, I don't have any reason to like or dislike him right now. But I'm leaning toward the latter based on some of the language he and the people reporting on his announcement are using to describe why such a non-entity thinks he can be competitive in this election.

Do a quick twitter search for "Tim Ryan working class" and you'll see how many headlines and reports (from actual journalists, not just random users) run with the talking point his campaign people obviously wanted to push: Tim Ryan is the guy who can win the Working Class in the Midwest.

In this kind of usage, "working class" is a euphemism for white. Otherwise it makes no sense, since the demographics of the "working class" in the United States is nothing like what it is across rural, deep-red Ohio and Indiana. I understand the dilemma here, since neither the media nor the candidate can straight-up say "Well I'm gonna run because I think I can appeal to more white people." On the surface I suppose that's not much different than other things candidates say out loud like, "I think ____ can appeal to Latino voters" or whatever. But the issue here is that "Working Class" as a euphemism for white is employing a phrase that has an actual meaning. "Working class" is a thing that, although competing definitions exist, has a definition. If you feel like a euphemism is needed, pick something that isn't already serving a purpose to describe a real demographic.

Also, with no malice in my heart I'm gonna go out on a limb and predict Congressman Ryan is the first candidate to quit. I just don't see the point of this beyond its redundant appeal to supporters of candidates like Beto, Klobuchar, Biden, and Gillibrand.

7 thoughts on “WORKIN' IT”

  • I just don't see the point of this

    It puts him on the board as a potential VP candidate, especially if the eventual nominee ends up being a woman or POC who needs a partner that will signal to the midwestern white guys that they're not too dangerous to vote for. (In other words, the calculus that led Obama to Biden in 2008.)

    Beyond that, it lets him boost his name recognition by becoming eligible for a piece of the orgy of free media that even long-shot presidential candidates share in. (See: Buttegieg, Pete.) Which could be useful down the road if his real goal is to move up from the House to Senator or Governor, or to move into a comfortable, lucrative talking-head role as a White Guy Whisperer on cable news.

  • but, but,,,,David Brooks likes Mayor Pete. And who has a better finger on the pulse of America than David Brooks?

  • @ Jason Lefkowitz:

    Is a white guy whisperer anything like the guys who get to wash off the prize stallions balls between bouts of "covering" mares for a lotta K's per orgazm? It just seems like something they'd be happy doing.

  • Emerson Dameron says:

    Who else would look at this cluster and think, "I can totally fill that Sherrod Brown-shaped hole in their hearts"?

    He'll probably outlast Mike Gravel, but I hope not.

  • Not to mention the fact that he's one of the jerkoffs who tried to unseat Pelosi as Speaker – I don't know how that's not immediately disqualifying by itself.

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