“China’s winning. Workers are losing,” declares Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio in his new campaign ad.
As AsAmNews reported last week, political leaders in the Asian American community have condemned Ryan for what they consider inflammatory, sinophobic, and especially dangerous in a climate of anti-Asian hate.
So far the Democratic frontrunner for the U.S. Senate isn’t backing down.
Ryan states that he has spent his whole career warning that China is the “greatest economic adversary” of the United States. He alleges that the Chinese Communist Party has manipulated currency, committed intellectual property theft, and artificially depressed wages. He states that he is committed to investing in American workers instead of outsourcing labor.
“Ohio workers are the best in the world,” Ryan said. “I will never apologize for doing everything in my power to take on China and fight for all Ohioans.”
His campaign ad has drawn criticism from his colleagues in the House of Representatives, AAPI groups, and some Ohioans themselves.
Rep. Grace Meng has called on Ryan to remove his ad. According to Meng, Ryan is placing a target on AAPIs and shifting the blame away from American corporations and their anti-worker policies.
Brad Jenkins, president of the AAPI Victory Fund, said that Ryan’s ad does not create awareness, but rather manufactures China to be the reason for lost jobs for Ohioans — “not only is that bad policy, it’s racist.”
Craig Calcaterra, in a column for Columbus Alive, has also criticized Ryan for “doubling down” in his response to criticisms.
“Between that response, and the vocal objection to his ad from the Asian American community, Ryan lost the ability to claim that his message was merely muddled or thoughtless. Ryan knows exactly what he is doing by cynically wading into these dark waters,” Calcaterra writes.
Ryans is among many other Democratic candidates running in Midwestern states that lean republican. According to Roll Call, other candidates have also expressed anti-China sentiments: Alex Lasry running in the Milwaukee Democratic primaries stated in his ad that he would “finally stand up to China.”
However, political strategist like Dale Butland states that critics of the ad do not understand the needs of Ohio voters.
“That is what Tim Ryan is going at. He’s telling Ohio voters, particularly the blue-collar voters — that we have to win, who we have to win back, if we’re going to have any hope of winning in that state again — that he is on their side,” Butland said.
Still, critics such as Jenkins maintain that the ad does little for Asian Americans, and invokes parallels to anti-Asian sentiment during the COVID-19 pandemic, which Ryan has denounced.
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