(CNSNews.com) – Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), who is challenging Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for House minority leader in a scheduled vote on Wednesday, says that if Democrats do not win back the flyover states that voted for Donald Trump, “we’re never going to be back in the majority.”
“I think our failure as a caucus has been not to focus on economic issues. And I’m supportive of all the issues that we talk about, but you need a robust economic message that covers everybody, and we failed to do that consistently,” Ryan told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace.
Wallace, who pointed out that since 2009 Democrats have lost over 60 House seats under Pelosi’s leadership, noted that almost two-thirds of Democrats in the 2017 House will represent states on the East or West coasts.
“Are Democrats no longer a national party, and if two-thirds of them come from those two coasts, isn’t a San Francisco liberal like Nancy Pelosi a shoo-in to get re-elected?” he asked Ryan.
“Well, I don’t think so, because I think even our members from the coastal areas recognize that we are not a national party right now,” Ryan replied. “We can’t claim to be…
“These are the smartest political figures coming out of their areas. They’re the member of Congress. They’ve beaten mayors, they’ve beaten local elected officials to get this position. They’re the most seasoned political figures in their region. They understand politics, and I think they understand that this is about having a new message and a new messenger and be able to reach those folks.
“And the numbers are big, but they know that if we don’t get the middle of the country that we’re never going to be back in the majority,” Ryan said.
Pelosi has been the House Democrats’ leader since 2003, the year Rep. Tim Ryan came to Congress. Shortly after this month's election, she claimed that “the problem was more with the communication than it was with our policy.”
Communication “is a big part of it, but we can’t keep saying it’s a communication issue,” countered Ryan. “We’ve been saying it’s a communication issue since 2010. So we’ve got to figure out how to have the robust economic message, and we’re not communicating that. These people left us in droves. They either went for Trump or they stayed at home," he told Wallace.
“And without a good message that connects deeply with them, we’re talking about issues that they care about, that their families care about, what they talk about when they’re sitting around the kitchen table, they’re never going to come back.
“And we need a leader who can go into those congressional districts and be able to pull Trump voters back and energize those voters.”
“We have the smallest number in our caucus since 1929,” Ryan continued. “We’ve got to do something differently.”
However, Ryan’s positions on some major issues are identical to Pelosi’s.
For example, Pelosi - who refused to say whether an unborn baby at 20 weeks’ gestation is “a human being” – has slammed Republican attempts to defund Planned Parenthood (PP). The formerly pro-life Ryan recently promised a “Youngstown street fight” if the Trump administration tries to defund PP, the nation’s largest abortion provider.
Both Pelosi and Ryan voted against an attempt to override President Obama’s veto of the first bill passed by both chambers of Congress that would have repealed major provisions of Obamacare, including its individual and employer mandates.
"The American people need to know we understand that they elected us to fight for economic opportunity for all," Ryan said in a statement announcing his candicacy for House minority leader. "We need to creat America 2.0 - a mutlicultural, progressive, and innovative country that fights every day for ordinary people."