Young Democrats in the House of Representatives were hoping that they could make some serious changes in the party leadership in the wake of their devastating loss in the elections, but Wednesday’s vote proved that most of their fellow congressmen are more comfortable with the status quo. So it was that Nancy Pelosi was re-elected House Democratic Leader, leaving behind the insurgent challenger, Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio.
The final vote tally was 134 for Pelosi, 63 for Ryan. That jibes with Pelosi’s claim that she had the support of two-thirds of House Dems. And critics can’t even blame the outcome on fearful Democrats because it was done by secret ballot. The majority of Democrats apparently feel that the lesson to be learned from the 2016 election is: Keep on keeping on.
Ryan released a statement after the vote, outlining his vision for the future of the party.
“Democrats must adopt a progressive economic message that focuses on large, direct infrastructure investments, affordable health care, portable pensions and public-private investments that promote advanced manufacturing. Hopelessness is a product of economic and social adversity. That is why Democrats must always be the party of aspiration and inclusion,” Ryan said.
Ryan was one of many Democrats who thought the party needed to change direction after Donald Trump’s upset victory – an electoral landslide that kept Democrats from making the gains they wanted in Congress. Ryan argued that Pelosi and other top party leaders failed to keep Upper Midwestern voters in the Democratic tent, having traded their support for an exclusive focus on minorities, coastal elites, and globalization strategies.
Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Ryan said he was still optimistic about pushing the party to make changes.
“I think it sends a message that a lot of people felt like maybe they weren’t getting heard,” Ryan said. “Now, they think there’s a much better chance that they will. I think more people are inclined to speak out now.”