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Opinion | Can Tim Ryan Pull Off the Biggest Upset of the Midterms in Ohio?


“For the most part, people lost their jobs here and there was nothing Washington could do for them,” said David Betras, former chairman of the Mahoning County Democratic Party. “And then Trump came along and he said, ‘Hey, they fooled you.’ People think, ‘At least he sees me. He is giving me water. “

Mr. Ryan’s attempt to steer his party in a different direction in the Midwest is continuing to fend off resistance, even as he has come close to Mr. Vance in the polls. The first ad released by Mr. Ryan’s campaign, in April, was Exhibition A.

Wearing an unbuttoned shirt, he wears one dam counter the threat posed by China: “It is we against China and instead of dealing with them, Washington is wasting our time on stupid wars… China is manufacturing left and right. Ours… America can never depend on communist China… It’s time for us to fight back… We need Ohio workers to build everything in Ohio. “

By the standards of the 2022 Ohio Senate race, it’s a pretty light job. At an April rally with Mr Trump, after completing a radical pivot from Trump critic to protester, Mr Vance criticized “corrupt scum who receive their march orders from Communist China”. But nonetheless, Ryan’s ad received opposition from Asian-Americans, who said it risked fostering anti-Asian sentiment.

Irene Lin, a Democratic strategist in Ohio, finds it remarkable. “It’s weird when he runs an ad attacking China, and people say, ‘You sound like Trump.’ Tim has been attacking China for decades! Trump co-picked it from us and we need to get it back, because Trump is a total fraud on this.”

However, the episode underscores Mr. Ryan’s conundrum: how to match Mr. Trump and Mr. Vance when it comes to the decline of Ohio manufacturing without offending Democratic allies. free owner.

When I asked Mr. Ryan of Zanesville how he differentiated his views from Mr. Vance’s, he said it wouldn’t be difficult. For one thing, he noted, Mr. Vance attacked a core element of industrial policy that Ryan sees as key to reviving Ohio: electric vehicle subsidies. At the Mahoning protests, Mr Vance denounced them as gifts to elites who, Ryan saw, ignore hundreds of workers now employed at the old Lordstown General Motors factory in the Valley. Mahoning, which builds electric cars, trucks and tractors is part of a new venture led by Taiwanese company Foxconn, and at a large battery factory across the street.

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