ALEX CRAWFORD, PUSHING FORWARD
Randy Bryce launched into the national spotlight when he announced he was running against the current Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, on June 20th. Randy Bryce is trying to unseat Ryan in Wisconsin’s First Congressional District, which includes parts of Milwaukee and Waukesha, plus the cities of Kenosha, Racine, Janesville, and several others. The district has been represented by Paul Ryan since 1999. There has not been a Democratic Representative for the district since 1995, and Randy Bryce is looking to change that.
Although he has run unsuccessfully for state legislature twice, he is looking to flip the 1st District and represent his home in Washington D.C.
An underdog by a mile, Randy Bryce raised an estimated 100 thousand dollars for his campaign on the day he announced his run. If he wants any chance to win, he needs to appeal to voters who feel like they have been left behind by the Democratic Party in the last few years, such as white working class workers. If he can do that, he has a real shot to unseat Paul Ryan and shake up the political landscape of not only Wisconsin, but also the United States in the upcoming 2018 mid-term election, leading into the 2020 presidential election.
Randy Bryce is an Ironworker from Caledonia, Wisconsin, a town of about 25,000 people, in southern Wisconsin. He is also a U.S. Army veteran and a testicular cancer survivor.
He released his first campaign ad, which was beautifully crafted, and highly praised. It opens with him talking about healthcare and his mother’s battle with multiple sclerosis. Healthcare has been a heated debate, and Randy Bryce is ready for a better and more efficient health care system in this country. He then talks about how he understands the working class people, and how they do not have a proper seat at the table. Towards the end, he states “Let’s trade places, Paul Ryan, you can come work the iron and I’ll go to D.C.” Strong community roots and local activism are his strong suit, as he currently serves as President of the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce board of directors, and as Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin Veterans Caucus. In 2015, he won the Racine Labor Person of the Year award for his local labor activist work.
Randy Bryce is not just trying to appeal to the working class, he is the member of the working class, and understands what they want and need. He could bring back working class votes that have been essential to the Democratic Party success in the past.
Wisconsin has lately been a swing state and is deeply divided politically. Between Wisconsin’s liberal college towns like Madison and Milwaukee and its rural cities like Omro, Wisconsin is as divided as ever. In the 1st District, four counties went red in the last election, and 2 went blue, and showed similar results in 2012 election when Paul Ryan was running as Mitt Romney’s Vice President. It will take a lot to flip this district, and Randy Bryce might just be the type of Democrat to do it.
The Democratic Party needs to keep bringing candidates like him to the forefront as demographics like millennials, minorities, and other marginalized groups already tend to favor the Democrats due to their overwhelming support of important social issues. But many Democrats fail to appeal to voters who can be turned either way, depending on the presidential candidate. White working class workers have been looking for candidates they feel will understand their needs and address them in Washington D.C. and after last year’s election, it’s clear that those voters have left the Democratic Party for Donald Trump, with nearly twice as many voting for Trump over Clinton. Whether its economic fears or anxiety over the cultural shifts of the United States, the Democratic Party lost these voters that helped Barack Obama win twice.
Bryce is an “everyday” person, and a great candidate to bring the working class vote and the moderate vote back to the Democratic Party which broke for Donald Trump in the last election, especially in Wisconsin. These voters are looking for a person who understands their struggles, and does not make them feel left out in Washington. In the 2016 election Paul Ryan was re-elected with 65% of the vote, but Randy Bryce could give him a run for his money.
Although these voters were not the only reason Hillary Clinton lost the election, they did play an important role in her defeat. Moderates and independents also seemed torn in that election, which caused them to vote for a third party candidate or not vote at all.
If Randy Bryce and other candidates like him can bring back working class people and moderates to the Democratic Party, we could see a big shift in congressional seats in 2018, which could turn into flipping the house in 2020. The Democratic Party needs to stop solely blaming the Republican Party, and focus on winning back the voters that they lost. Randy Bryce is seen as a man of the people, and not an elite, which is exactly the kind of candidate the Democratic Party needs right now if they want to see seats flipped in districts where working class people feel left out. The Democratic Party needs a shakeup in candidates, and Randy Bryce could be just the guy.