But Ryan did, however, challenge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D–Calif., for minority leader after Democrats suffered sweeping losses in the industrial Midwest in the 2016 elections. During that race, he positioned himself as a Midwestern Democrat who could win some of the same blue-collar workers that embraced President Donald Trump in 2016 and criticized the Democratic Party for focusing too heavily on issues that appealed to the coasts rather than the Midwest.
He lost the minority leader race 134–63, but has emerged as a steady critic of the Democratic platform, originally withholding support of Pelosi when Democrats won the House last November. He ultimately voted for her for speaker.
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Ryan has hinted broadly at running before this month, scheduling trips to early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire last year. Pressed about that travel last December, the 45-year-old lawmaker insisted he just goes where he’s invited to go, traveling also to Florida, Kentucky, West Virginia and Alabama.
Speaking on CNN Wednesday, he said the wage gap is helping to drive his consideration. The fact that 400 people in the country have more wealth combined than 150 million, he said, is telling.
“Workers want cut in on the deal here,” he said. “And they haven’t been for 30 years.”