Good riddance. While Ryan, 48, has had an extremely successful career, — he was nearly the vice president in 2012 — as Speaker of the House he has not stood up to President Trump’s questionable and narcissistic behavior.
Despite being third in the line of power, he has done little to control the current wildfire of an administration as it burns through the dignity of our government. Somehow, he has dodged enough questions and avoided enough townhall meetings to be one of the few complicit politicians to escape the Trump White House with a salvageable career.
I don’t blame him for leaving. The Speaker of the House has an awful job in these polarized times, and the possibility of a Trump impeachment would put Ryan in an awkward position where he would have to pick a side.
He will be back, no doubt, once Donald Trump is reduced to infamy, and he will surely remind us of the career-defining tax overhaul he championed last year and how he never really supported Trump’s unethical behavior.
When he does slither back out to bask in the beloved limelight of Fox News, I’ll be ready with the hammer.
But for now, his departure creates a vacuum that both Democrats and Republicans are eager to fill, and the results of the midterm elections later this year will determine the future of one of the most conservative congressional districts in the country.
Already, conservative politicians like former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos have announced that they will not run for Paul Ryan’s old seat.
Career politicians are avoiding the 2018 midterms like the plague. With the food-flinging rhetoric that spews from the White House, no suit is safe from a presidential nickname or an exaggerated mockery of their past failures.
While I despise the level to which Trump has reduced the dignity of our elections, he has created a unique opportunity for outsiders with no political past.
Enter Randy Bryce. Known to his Twitter followers as Iron Stache for his Ron Swanson-
A native of Caledonia, Wis. (just north of the supposed site of Foxconn, a controversial tech company that was invited to the area by Paul Ryan last summer), Bryce comes off as an ordinary guy who is fed up with absent Representatives and all-talk-no-action politicians in Washington.
As a veteran, a cancer-survivor and a unionized ironworker who supports gay rights, Medicaid and Social Security, Bryce uses a personal logic to his policies hoping to fix the problems that he and people like him face.
When he began his campaign last summer, with the hope of “repealing and replacing” Paul Ryan, he was dismissed as mustachioed meme-fodder, but his approach to politics has resonated across the country and earned him the endorsement of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., the progressive messiah of millennials.
To add to that, his campaign donations make him hard to ignore. By the end of March 2018, he had raised over $4.75 million, with 74 percent of the donations in increments of $200 or less, according to his campaign. Not bad for a guy who just a few years ago was working on construction sites year-round.
While he is a relative newcomer to the world of politics, Bryce has never been afraid to fight for what he believes in.
In 2012, after the Wisconsin state Assembly passed a Right-to-Work bill that weakened the bargaining power of unions, Bryce was among thousands protesting in the capital. He was removed from the gallery for disrupting the proceedings after he was not allowed to testify.
“I don’t think what I did is nearly as disruptive as what [lawmakers] are doing in there,” Bryce told The Huffington Post.
Randy Bryce is running for office because he sees problems in the lives of ordinary people that are ignored by those that have gotten used to power. He repeatedly criticized Paul Ryan for spending more time in Washington than in Janesville and thinks that politicians have lost touch with their constituents.
The Iron Stache looks awkward in a suit. He dresses casually in paint-stained work clothes and speaks plainly but logically, and he believes in what he believes in.
I hope that the success of Randy Bryce’s campaign so far will inspire people who care about their communities to take politics into their own hands. Political elites will run the country for only as long as they are voted in by the people.
Politicians like Paul Ryan can learn a lot from people like Randy Bryce. I hope that during his spineless sabbatical he remembers what his job as a Representative really is and will return to politics with the needs of the people as his only priority.
Peter is a junior majoring in journalism and English. Please send any questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.