- Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
- Rep. Tim Ryan, a moderate Democrat from Ohio, joined a crowded field when he announced a run for president on Thursday.
- Ryan spoke with INSIDER about his plan to revitalize the Midwest and the “lie” Trump is telling about the US economy.
- “Trump’s very old school. We want to bring some new school,” Ryan said.
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Rep. Tim Ryan may not be the highest-profile candidate to join the crowded field seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, but the moderate Ohioan thinks that he has an ambitious plan that could win over the country.
The lawmaker is perhaps best known for his challenges to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, running against her for her position in 2016 and calling for someone to challenge her for the speakership in 2018.
But the Ohio lawmaker is now trying to make his name in the 2020 field by focusing on rebuilding the industrial Midwest, an area that used to be a Democratic stronghold but has recently trended toward the GOP.
In an interview with INSIDER soon after formally announcing a bid for president on Thursday, Ryan laid out an aggressive plan to reinvest in the industrial core of the Midwest and kick-start the American economy. The lawmaker also drew sharp contrasts with President Donald Trump.
“Trump’s very old school. We want to bring some new school,” Ryan said. “He talked about the old economy. I’m talking about the new economy. I’m talking about electric vehicles, the batteries that go with electric vehicles, the charging stations that go with the electric vehicles, solar, wind additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence.”
Ryan pointed to the closing of General Motors’ Lordstown plant in the heart of his congressional district as a prime example of the slow decline of America’s manufacturing core and said that the government needs to work with private businesses to try and revitalize that industry.
Rather than a massive government push, Ryan said that government needs to work with private industry to find the right reforms and strategies to make this push a reality. But that doesn’t mean the government doesn’t have a role in Ryan’s vision, reforming education to increase vocational training and helping people live healthier lives were just two ways that the new candidate said the federal and local governments can help make the overhaul a reality.
Ryan also had a dim view of Trump’s promises to bring back steel and coal jobs, jobs that the Democrat said are a thing of the past.
“The president is out there on his Twitter account, starting fires left and right,” Ryan said. “I’m saying if we focus, we can dominate [the new economy] and tell those workers these are the jobs of the future. Trump was talking about the jobs of the past. That’s a lie. Those aren’t coming back.”
But not investing in new technologies is not the only reason economists cite for the decline in American manufacturing. Many experts have pointed to the growing automation of factories as a key reason for the decline in the number of American manufacturing workers.
When asked how he would combat the rising tide of automation, Ryan said that staying out in front of the automation curve will prevent automated systems from totally replacing human workers.
“You got to dominate the industry,” Ryan said. “I mean, to me, of course automation is going to lose jobs, but if you’re always on the next generation of jobs, and you’re researching those, and working with companies, and working with business.”
Ryan also cited China’s ability to single-mindedly move toward a single economic goal. By contrast, the newly announced candidate said, the US is too tied up in partisan fighting.
“Let’s all push in the same direction. That’s what China does. Every aspect of their government is moving in one direction,” Ryan said. “They’ve got a long-term plan. We are not moving in the same direction, and we live in a 24-hour news cycle.”