Democratic lawmaker criticizes party brand, Pelosi

Jon Ossoff’s defeat in Georgia’s special House election — an election Democrats hoped would have been a referendum on President Donald Trump — has renewed some soul-searching among its members.

In an interview Wednesday, Rep. Tim Ryan criticized his party’s brand, their outreach to voters and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

“The brand is just bad,” Ryan said. “I don’t think people in the beltway are realizing just how toxic the Democratic Party brand is in so many parts of the country.”

Ryan was asked if he believed Pelosi was more toxic than Donald Trump.

“The honest answer is in some areas of the country — yes, she is,” Ryan said. ” I think that in certain areas, like in some of these special election districts, it doesn’t benefit our candidates to be tied to her. “

Ryan challenged Pelosi last fall for the top leadership position, but lost that internal election, receiving only 63 votes from the 194 members.

“Clearly, we’re coming off an election, and she’s been getting pounded now for 10 years with negative ads from the Republicans.” Ryan added, “I don’t think it’s fair. But, clearly, these ads using her, linking her to our candidates is still working.”

The Ohio lawmaker argued that the Democratic Party had lost touch with the working class.

“I worry sometimes that we get so obsessed and angered by Donald Trump, which is OK, but you can’t hold on to it because it takes your eye off the ball,” Ryan said.

“We’re not focusing on the economic messages. People in Ohio … aren’t really talking about Russia or Michael Flynn or Putin … They’re worried about paying the bills.”