Meet The Candidates 2020: Tim Ryan

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You might remember Tim Ryan as the red-faced football player to the far side of your debate stage who seemed confused about who caused 9/11 and argued vociferously that Ohio, a state that receives roughly 800% of each candidate’s attention during the presidential cycle and has picked the winner of nearly every presidential race since the late 1800s, doesn’t get enough of a voice in politics. But what you might not remember him from is the author page of his meditation guide, "A Mindful Nation,” in which he presumably teaches us not to engage in the same rage-induced debate tactics as him. 

Ryan, born in a town in Ohio that apparently exists called Niles, was a promising football player who got sidelined by a knee injury and decided to use his formidable height and imposing presence to stand aggressively near politicians instead of linebackers. He took a job with former Ohio Rep. Jim Traficant, then ran for the seat after Traficant was convicted on criminal charges. If you’d heard the name Tim Ryan prior to a couple months ago, it’s probably because in 2016 he gave ousting Nancy Pelosi a go, losing to her in a kind of impressive renegade bid for House Speaker.

Ryan was 29 when got elected (he’s now 45) and though it may not be evident from his centrist platform, he actually has “evolved” quite a bit since his early days in office. For years he received A ratings from the NRA, for example, until the slaughter of 27 children in Sandy Hook caused him to rethink his position on gun control. He now supports the same basic background checks as the rest of the Demcratic field but for some reason everybody is really impressed that he’s donated his past NRA donations to gun control groups. (As an elected official, maybe that’s not enough?) He was also once staunchly pro-life, even voting for the Stupak Amendment during the ACA debate, but in January 2015 he reversed his position and is now in the camp of so many other generic white men in that he theoretically supports a woman’s right to choose but doesn’t go out of his way to talk about it. In one of the more shocking moves of his career he actually co-sponsored the Medicare-for-All Act in Congress, which is a hoot considering he argued vociferously during the presidential debates that Medicare-for-All would be bad for unions, a major part of his base. In fact it was his exchange with Bernie Sanders that led to the now infamous Sander’s quote: “I wrote the damn bill.”

Like many rust-belters Ryan is concerned about trade has been a supporter of Trump’s use of tariffs against China. (Yes, the ones that are currently throwing the economy into disarray.) And while he’s theoretically a guy who cares about the environment, he’s come out against the Green New Deal because it’s not focused enough on the private sector. A vote for Ryan is a vote for...white male rage? Meditation? Anger at Bernie Sanders? Maybe all three.