Allegations of sexism have been ignited by Tim Ryan after he challenged the female Democratic minority leader. Ian Millhiser is the justice editor at ThinkProgress, which is a website affiliated with the Clinton linked Center for American Progress. Millhiser said “This thing where an obscure male backbencher thinks he deserves to replace the most accomplished woman in Congress is how sexism works. I’m genuinely curious if anyone can argue why Tim Ryan should replace Pelosi other than she was in the job when something bad happened.” Ian also went on to say that Tim Ryan wasn’t truly worthy of the position.
In a recent twitter battle, user @shoutingboy chimed in on the conversation noting “I will say this, if a Republican man orchestrated four straight GOP wins in congress everyone would say he’s brilliant, but when a Democrat woman does it everyone acts like it’s no big deal.”
For 14 years, Pelosi has led Democrats in the House. Last week, Ryan announced that he intends on challenging her leadership. He is doing so by running on a platform which connects himself to working class Americans who have been neglected by Democrats. Ryan said during a National Public Radio interview that “We’ve got to address that, and we got to address it quickly. And these are working-class people. They don’t want to get retrained, you know, to run a computer. They want to run a backhoe. They want to build things,” he added.
Nancy Pelosi is responding to the challenge of her position as top House Democrat by proposing a greater role for junior lawmakers in congressional committees, and within her leadership team. Since 2002, Pelosi has been the chamber’s top Democrat. In the aftermath of the election she finds herself being challenged by Ryan. Pelosi seeks to address widespread unease among more junior lawmakers. The junior lawmakers say that there is a lack of opportunity for them to advance and influence the party’s course.
Ryan thinks he will appeal more to the Rust Belt and rural areas, where Democrats used to have good performance, than Pelosi. Meanwhile, Pelosi can highlight her successful leadership from the mid 2000’s, which led the party into the majority for four years. Some are citing sexist reasons as to why Ryan is looking to replace Pelosi. “I’m pulling the fire alarm because the house is burning down.” said Ryan.
Over the last eight years, the Democrats have lost 13 seats in the US Senate. They have also lost 14 governorships and 35 state legislative chambers. The Donald Trump victory has turned the majority in the US house, as well as several blue states, over to the red side of things.
Ryan has said that some things in Congress are dire for Democrats. “Under our current leadership, Democrats have been reduced to our smallest congressional minority since 1929. This should indicate to all of us that keeping our leadership team completely unchanged will simply lead to more disappointment in future elections.”
Other critics are wondering whether or not it is sexist for believing that it is sexist for Ryan to run against Pelosi. Ryan said that the election was a huge wake up call. “The average American – the average working class American flipped their middle finger to the establishment, the Democratic establishment, the Republican establishment, Wall St., they think that everybody is more concerned with the donor class than they are with the working class.” Ryan went on to add about Pelosi “She’s been a virtual piggy bank for Democratic lawmakers, holding nearly 360 fundraising events and bringing in $117 million for the House Democratic campaign arm this cycle. She has a solid base of support among older members and the California delegation.”
The House leadership election has been postponed until after Thanksgiving — and sexism does not appear to be a real issue here.