Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan criticized his fellow Democrats Wednesday night for being “obsessed” with President Trump and not focusing on the issues that actually matter to working people.
CNN’s Don Lemon asked Ryan to explain his statement earlier that day that the Democratic party brand is “toxic” to many Americans.
“Well, it happens to be true. We all have a lot of anger towards what Donald Trump is doing, but we’ve had four special elections, and Donald Trump, four, Democrats, zero,” Ryan said. “I hate to admit that. It hurts. It’s painful, but we’ve got to get our act together because there’s a lot of people relying on us.
“I worry sometimes that we get so obsessed and angered by Donald Trump, which is okay, but you can’t hold on to it because it takes your eye off the ball. We’re not focusing on the economic messages. People in Ohio, Don, aren’t really talking about Russia or Michael Flynn or Putin or anything else,” Ryan said.
“They’re worried about paying the bills, what’s happening with our pension, how much does it cost to send a kid to school, what’s our energy bill like. Real bread and butter stuff.”
Ryan has tried in vain for months to get Democrats to focus on economic issues instead of playing identity politics.
“I think, in part, we try to slice the electorate up. And we try to say, ‘You’re black, you’re brown, you’re gay, you’re straight, you’re a woman, you’re a man.’ The reality of it is there’s no juice in that kind of campaign,” Ryan said after Trump’s electoral victory last November. “There’s no energy in that because it’s divided.”
The Ohio Democrat made similar comments earlier Wednesday following Jon Ossoff’s loss in the special election for Georgia’s Sixth District.
Voters see Democrats as “not being able to connect with the issues they care about,” Ryan said, adding that Democrats’ brand is “toxic.”