Moderate Democrat Tim Ryan Drops Out of 2020 Presidential Race

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, participates in the first of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN Tuesday, July 30, 2019, in the Fox Theatre in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Moderate Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) dropped out of the 2020 race for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination Thursday.

Ryan, one of the few centrist voices in what is arguably the most left-wing field in presidential primary history, had trouble gaining traction with Democratic voters and was a frequent punching bag for left-wing rivals.

In a straight-to-camera YouTube video titled Giving “Voice to the Forgotten,” Ryan said that he was withdrawing from the race and returning to his district in northeastern Ohio — the 13th — to run for re-election.

Ryan said that he had entered race to give voice to the “forgotten people” and “forgotten communities that have been left behind by globalization and automation.” He said that his campaign had achieved that, even if he lost.

“I will continue to advocate and fight for the working people of this country,” Ryan vowed. He did not endorse another candidate.

Ryan, long a champion of working-class voters, criticized the Democratic Party for moving too far to the left, toward socialism. “You can be hostile to concentration of wealth, you can be hostile to income inequality, you can be hostile to greed. We can’t be hostile to the system,” he warned in a CNN interview in April.

At the first Democratic debate in Miami, Florida, in June, Ryan warned again:

We could talk about climate. We could talk about guns. We could talk about all of these issues that we all care about. We have a perception problem with the Democratic Party. We are not connecting to the working class people in the very state that I represent in Ohio, in the industrial Midwest. We’ve lost all connection that—we have got to change the center of gravity of the Democratic Party from being coastal and elital—elitist and Ivy League, which is the perception, to somebody from the forgotten communities that have been left behind for the last 30 years, to get those workers back on our side …

However, Ryan appeared to wither under attack from fellow Democrats. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) skewered him in the first debate for suggesting the U.S. should keep troops in Afghanistan to prevent terrorism. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) fought with him in the second debate over “Medicare for All,” after Ryan pointed out that it would cancel private health insurance policies for which union members had pushed in collective bargaining agreements. Though Sanders later revised his policy to make room for those policies, tacitly admitting that Ryan’s criticism had merit, the socialist from Vermont appeared to dominate the exchange. He also taunted Ryan for criticizing the Green New Deal: “I get a little bit tired of Democrats afraid of big ideas.”

Ryan tried, but failed, to unseat Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as party leader in the wake of the Democrats’ loss in the 2016 election, winning 63 votes in his effort.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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