A Bernie-backed Democrat is gearing up to challenge Speaker of the House Paul Ryan in his home town district, a steep, uphill battle.
A former campaign surrogate for Senator Sanders, Randy Bryce, is preparing to launch his congressional campaign in the coming weeks and is being considered the first serious opponent of Ryan since he joined Congress.
Bryce, a labor activist and noted progressive, has already recruited a team to help him run his campaign, including former Obama staffer Bill Hyers. Hyers ran the campaigns for both NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Now, Hyers will be helping a progressive unseat the damaging speaker of the House.
Next to ousting President Trump, removing Paul Ryan for office would be a significant victory for the Democratic party. Ryan has spearheaded the Obamacare replacement and has willingly aided and abetted President Trump to promote his own Ayn Rand-ian agenda.
Unfortunately, Bryce won’t just be running against Paul Ryan, but against an orchestrated system in the state that ensures Republicans retain their seats against all challenges. Ring of Fire has covered in the past the extensive record of gerrymandering and restrictive voter ID laws that all but guarantee the safety of Ryan’s seat.
As is witnessed all over the country, gerrymandering in Wisconsin is so extreme that though Democrats in the state received more votes in 2016, they only won 39 of the state’s 99 districts. The gerrymandering reached its extreme in 2010 when Republicans succeeded in re-drawing district lines of over half of the districts in the state, a change that resulted in strong Republican wins in subsequent elections.
Wisconsin also suffers from strong voter I.D. laws which suppressed the vote of 200,000 Wisconsinites. Those voters could have cast a ballot for Clinton in 2016 and could vote against Paul Ryan in 2018.
Thanks to this especially rigged system, Ryan has only received less than 60 percent of the vote in his district once. Trump also won Ryan’s district by 10 percent over opponent Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Fortunately for Bryce, the momentum behind anti-Trump sentiment in America only seems to be growing. Regular Americans have shown with each special election that they are more than willing to put their money where their mouths are and have given generously to campaigns against Republicans across the country.
Paul Ryan has a massive target on his head for 2018, and Republicans are going to have to fight tooth and nail to keep their speaker in his throne.