This week, Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan announced he was quitting his campaign to become the Democratic nominee for president. If you thought he’d already dropped out, you’re in good company thanks to two convincing arguments for the death of his campaign: his almost complete lack of popular support and his August announcement that he was suspending his campaign.
Usually when a candidate announces they’re suspending their campaign, it means the campaign’s over. But Ryan’s campaign caught its first and only spark after his suspension announcement, leading him to call off the suspension.
And we might have played a small part in his decision to re-enter the race.
In August, BTR ran a story about the seeming end of Ryan’s campaign. We deemed his performance in the second debate a disaster, particularly how Ryan’s Medicare for All criticism prompted Bernie Sanders’ “I wrote the damn bill” money quote.
But the campaign post mortem wasn’t solely negative. BTRtoday writer Joe Virgillito praised the sincere outrage Ryan displayed an MSNBC interview in the wake of the Dayton mass shooting and Ryan’s Twitter response to Donald Trump mistaking Toledo for Dayton during his remarks on the shooting.
Toledo. Fck me.
— Tim Ryan (@TimRyan) August 5, 2019
Virgillito wrote he was “starting to like this guy” and asked “wait, should he stay in the race?!” While Virgillito’s answer was “definitely no,” he said Ryan had managed to transform himself from a tepid, milquetoast moderate into an avatar of the public’s Trump frustration.
The story became an unexpected hit for us. And I’ve long suspected Ryan’s supporters or staff discovered the article and used its qualified praise to help justify breathing life back into a campaign that deserved to be taken off life support. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t believe it was our article alone that convinced them to reanimate Ryan’s presidential hopes. But it was probably one among many articles people close to the congressmen used to argue that Ryan had a chance. So if they run into this article as well, here’s the takeaway: it’s great when Ryan expresses real, heartfelt outrage on television. That doesn’t mean he should run for president.