Tuning out Blacks and progressives may cost Tim Ryan and make Ohio more MAGA
Tim Ryan

Is Tim Ryan wearing a "Donald Trump" costume?

Both African Americans and progressives in Ohio are wondering if throwing a football at a TV screen is the Tim Ryan blunder which makes Ohio even more MAGA?

Tim Ryan’s most widely-recognized TV commercial to date – smashing a football into a television screen depicting “Defund the Police” – may sway some moderate Republicans to vote Democrat over JD Vance, but this same commercial could also backfire.

“It’s going to cost him votes,” says Charles Traylor, an African American from Columbus who hosts the radio show ‘Front Street.’“The voters’ psyche can be very fickle. When you say you’re against ‘Defunding the Police,’ what you are saying to victims of police abuse is, ‘I care more about protecting police officers than I do protecting people from bad police officers.’”

Traylor gets what Ryan is trying to do, and many other pundits get it as well. Ryan is unapologetically seeking to reverse Trump’s gains with white people in Ohio. But African Americans also remember what helped fuel Trump to power – white people’s (bigoted) anger.

“Tim Ryan is trying to make a point with Trump supporters that he’s with them. Look at the debates. Tim Ryan was dressed in the Donald Trump costume. Blue suit and red tie,” said Traylor. “His yard signs are red. And whatever you campaign on, if you get into office, that’s what you’re going to be.”

Dr. Paul Beck, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Ohio State, says Tim Ryan is flirting with Trump and denying President Biden because he’s determined to reclaim Ohio’s white working-class base.

Ryan’s Congressional district, the Mahoning Valley, has become stout Trump country after turning on Democrats which held sway here for decades even though the region had turned into a Rust Belt wasteland.

“The Mahoning Valley was a very dependable Democratic vote not so long ago, and it’s even conceivable that Ryan would have lost his congressional seat if he had decided to run again for Congress in this particular election,” said Dr. Beck.

Tim Ryan is not courting Ohio progressives, this was predicted, and it further proves what many Ohio progressives know about their home state. Many lefties, especially younger adults, have abandoned the increasingly redder Ohio during the previous two decades.

“He’s not going to be someone who would reach out to the ‘Morgan Harpers,’” said Dr. Beck. “There’s not a huge progressive wing of the Democrat party here in Ohio. There is in some other states.”

John K. Hartman, a local media critic and columnist for the Free Press, believes, “Morgan Harper and Ryan [should] smoke the peace pipe.” But like President Biden, Ryan’s campaign has not asked Harper for help, either.

Whether Ryan’s strategy is successful we’ll soon find out, says Dr. Beck.

“It’s the only strategy Tim Ryan could have adopted,” he says. “The state has trended Republican in recent years. I don’t think it’s a completely red state the way some people are describing it as being. But it’s certainly a state where the Democrats don’t have an advantage, and they haven’t had an advantage in years, although we need to remember that Obama won Ohio twice, and I think what Ohioans were looking for in those years, as well with Trump in a strange way, was a change.”

Traylor says Black voters are fully aware of Ryan’s strategy that in today’s Ohio he needs support from Republicans in a red state for him to win. But in the next two weeks Ryan should pivot back to those in Ohio who have been loyal to Democrats for over half a century.

“He needs to let his base know that ‘I haven’t abandoned you’ and ‘I haven’t gone away from you.’” said Traylor. “One of the things I have seen, and maybe it’s always been there, but more recently, I have seen that some Democrats don’t see the Black vote as their base. They just see the Black vote as somebody who is going to be there because they have no other place to go.”

Ryan, for instance, could have asked LeBron James for help.

“But he (Ryan) hasn’t reached out anyone that could help him. He’s too busy courting Republicans,” said Traylor. “Black voters see the right to vote as a sacred right, and they will hold their nose and vote for Tim Ryan. But they’re not going to be fired up.”

The bottom line is, if the African American vote does not come out for Ryan, he will lose, says Traylor.

“Because guess what, JD Vance is not going to get nowhere near the percentage of Black votes that Ryan is going to get in terms of red votes. And that could be the margin of victory,” said Traylor. 

The Free Press repeatedly tried to reach Tim Ryan’s campaign for a response to this story, but no one ever returned phone calls or emails