Rep. Tim Ryan on Identity Politics: There's No Juice In That Kind Of Campaign, It's Divisive

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Rep. Tim Ryan said identity politics don't seem to work for the Democratic party anymore and expressed his frustration that economic issues have not been a priority. Ryan is challenging House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi for her leadership position.

"Do you think he's alluding to identity politics here as the failure? What do you believe the failure is?" Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd asked.

"I think, in part, we try to slice the electorate up. And we try to say, 'You're black, you're brown, you're gay, you're straight, you're a woman, you're a man.' The reality of it is there's no juice in that kind of campaign. There's no energy in that because it's divided," Ryan answered.

"The reality of it is our message has been wrong," Ryan said to Chuck Todd Sunday morning. But we can't keep saying, 'Oh, we got the message wrong, and so please forgive us.' We've been getting the message wrong since 2010. We've got to get the message right. We've got to have the right messenger. And we've got to have someone who can not just go on MSNBC, but go on Fox and Fox Business and CNBC, and go into union halls and fish frys and churches all over the country and start a brush fire about what a new Democratic Party looks like."

Ryan said his Democratic brethren have an obligation to respect voters who elected Donald Trump.

"I think it is yet to be seen," the Ohio Congressman said. "I think we have an obligation to respect the voter who put Trump in. And we may not like it. And we may have fought really hard. I traveled the country for a year and a half helping Hillary Clinton to try to become president. But we have to respect what the American people have done."

Ryan acknowledged that Pelosi is a master fundraiser, but said if money were the answer to the Democratic party's problems then Hillary Clinton would be president and they would have control of the House.

"I mean if money was the answer, Hillary Clinton would be president and we'd be in charge of the House of Representatives right now. But money is not the answer. It's message, messenger. And it's about winning. Winners win. I mean we can't have a standard in the Democrat Party that we're gonna accept being down 63 seats. I mean 33 governorships, 31 secretaries of state, 69 of 99 state legislators, Chuck. We're losing all over the board. We've got to start something new and start fresh," he said.

Ryan said he is "moving on" from the election and would counsel Clinton loyalists to not join Jill Stein's call for a recount:

CHUCK TODD: What is-- what do you make of the recount decision by the Clinton campaign to cooperate with Jill Stein's call? Do you think that's healthy for the country?

CONGRESSMAN TIM RYAN: I mean it's their decision. They ran a tough race. I'm--

CHUCK TODD: Are you supportive of it?

CONGRESSMAN TIM RYAN: I'm moving on myself.

CHUCK TODD: Would you counsel against it?

CONGRESSMAN TIM RYAN: I would counsel against it. But I'm moving on. I mean we've got elections to win. We need to start rebuilding. But, you know, they're in a different position than I am. We're moving into the next Congress. We have this leadership race. We've got to fill the DNC position. We've got to move forward. And I think that's the best thing for us to do.

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