Tuesday, June 27, 2017

An ironworker for Wisconsin?

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, that utopian capitalist working to replace government with Ayn Rand's war of the strong on the weak, has a challenger.

Randy Bryce, local community activist and life-long resident of southeastern Wisconsin launches campaign for Congress in Wisconsin's first district to take on Speaker Paul Ryan.

I have no idea whether this iron worker and union leader can make a viable electoral run, but he sure has kicked off his campaign with first rate story video. Defeating a sitting speaker is a stretch, but it has happened. Anyone remember Tom Foley?

Bryce is a fountain of homespun quotes, candy for interviewers:

Right now people are dying to be heard. We just want [politicians] to know what problems we're facing. Things are getting worse, they're not getting better. And promises were made that are not being kept. And that's why you see me, and I'm hoping a lot more people like me around the country step up. Who better to talk about our issues than one of us?

Pacific Standard

[Bryce has] spent two decades as an ironworker, and aims to contrast that with Ryan’s record.

“I’ve been doing this for 20 years. And that’s about the same time that Paul Ryan has been in Congress. And I mean, I’m driving around and I’m pointing out to my son: ‘Look, daddy built that, daddy worked on that.’

“And I’m proud of helping build things in the last 20 years. And then I look at what Paul Ryan has done and he’s done nothing.”


So is this quotable guy the right candidate who can win Paul Ryan's carefully gerrymandered district? He might be. Or perhaps, someone else will think they can do a better job and convince more Democrats to nominate them in a primary. (Bryce has lost a pair of previous primaries.)

Democrats are currently going through one of those knock-down, drag-out family quarrels about the direction of the party. That's what Dems do when losing. It's healthy. I have no doubt that the party is drifting left in most ways, that Dems are ever more aware they need answers to both the economic and existential identity struggles that too many of us feel these days. Business as usual isn't working for too many people and the other party has no answers at all.

As is usually the case, when the people lead, our leaders will follow. Eventually.

There is no generic message for all districts and no one-size-fits-all sort of candidate who would be right for every district. The right person is going to differ a lot -- and who gets to run needs to be fought out locally through the primary process. National advocates and funders will think they can dictate who ought to run and sometimes they might be able to. But candidates who can't convince the locals of their "authenticity," whatever that means in local circumstances, usually can't win.

I will be honestly curious to see how the explosion of interest in running for office which has become one prong of resistance to Trump and the GOPer ascendancy plays out. In lots of areas, whatever party apparatus once existed has atrophied and there haven't been "natural" leaders stepping up to run. Newbie candidates are going to discover that running for office is draining, sometimes demeaning, and can be devastatingly disappointing. They won't succeed unless they know why they want these offices and unless they burn with drive to win. And should they win, they'll quickly learn that governing requires different skills, more painstaking and policy-centered, than running for office.

Randy Bryce is going to be fun to watch. May we see hundreds like him!


Michael Strickland said...

I am loving your original thought and long years of practical experience on this subject. Much affection.

janinsanfran said...

Mike: much affection to you! My stock answer to "how are you?" these days is "still here." Some of us are still here ... :-)

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