Ryan’s plan will advance Democrats

U.S. Rep. Timothy J. Ryan, our Democratic congressman from Howland, is delivering the right message at the right time, and we support his aggressive and enthusiastic run for minority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Ryan understands well that the existing position is not working for Democrats because it is dividing the party, not unifying it.

We support his message because we know, after all, that a strong Democratic Party, as well as a strong Republican Party, is vital to a solid two-party system and a strong democracy.

That’s a point we have made often on this page, and it applies to all levels of government — local, state and national.

On Wednesday, the Democratic Caucus in Washington, D.C., will make its decision on minority leadership, choosing from between Ryan and longtime Democratic leader U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi. Ryan, dissatisfied with the direction the national party has been taking, saw an opportunity and stepped up aggressively to seize it.

We applaud him for that.

During a nationally televised appearance Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Ryan outlined a problem he has seen with the party.

“I think, in part, we try to slice the electorate up,” he said. “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.”

Rather, Ryan sees the need for a leader who can unite the party around a common theme. That, he said, includes working class values of good jobs, living wages with pensions and benefits.

Ryan knows voters’ wishes must be respected and cannot be ignored.

That’s why we are pleased to see that he is taking a proactive approach to reforming the party’s direction.

Ryan is right when he calls for a decentralization of power in the Democratic Caucus so every member is part of the team and plays a role in shaping the party’s future.

Ryan continues to represent our Valley well inside the Beltway, a job he has performed successfully for many years. Still, we can’t help but note that he is uniquely positioned for even bigger challenges.

Whatever happens in Wednesday’s bid for house leadership, we wish Ryan well.