Wisconsin ironworker and union activist Randy Bryce became a social media sensation on Monday following the release of a stirring ad announcing his bid to challenge House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) for his congressional seat in 2018.
Bryce has run for office before, as the Associated Press reported, but this campaign appears to have sparked a groundswell of enthusiasm as congressional Republicans work in secret to repeal the Affordable Care Act and make devastating cuts to Medicaid.
The first ad of his campaign was tailored to the moment, emphasizing the impact cuts to such programs would have on millions of Americans, particularly the poor and those with preexisting conditions.
"My mother has multiple sclerosis, my father is in assisted living, and I survived cancer in my 20s to have a miracle child in my 40s," Bryce said in an interview. "What Paul Ryan and the Republicans are doing to take healthcare away from millions of us, to make it cost more and cover less, and to allow the protections we’ve gained to be stripped away—it's just unacceptable."
Watch the ad:
"Whether it's healthcare, jobs, national security, education, or the environment, there's not one issue where Paul Ryan and Donald Trump are headed in the right direction," Bryce said. "It's time for a change in Congress."
The ad concludes with a direct message to Ryan: "Let's trade places. Paul Ryan can come work the iron and I'll go to D.C."
Bryce has expressed his views on a wide range of issues, and his campaign is tinged with the kind of populism Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) harnessed to great effect in his 2016 presidential run.
- On climate change: "We have to acknowledge climate change threatens human existence, and we need to do something about it in a way that uses the opportunity to create hundreds of thousands of jobs building a new economy."
- On the economy: "Every American deserves a good-paying job."
- On public education: "As a product of public schools, I know we need to invest in our children's future, and we need to make our government work again."
- On Trump's scapegoating of women and minorities: "Just to get the [White House], he pointed the finger at Muslims, at people from Mexico, at immigrants, and there is a huge divide. Now, people are looking at why we are different and thinking that’s the reason why they don’t have what they could."
Social media greeted Bryce's ad, and the message of his newly-launched campaign, with thunderous applause:
guys there is a union ironworker running against Paul Ryan oh my goodness https://t.co/ZpNgOVcIQ4
— Sarah Jaffe (@sarahljaffe) June 19, 2017
— Chris Sacca (@sacca) June 20, 2017
Our nation needs more @IronStache!
"Let's trade places, Paul Ryan. You can come work the iron, and I'll go to D.C." https://t.co/EvIld6BYPl
— Crystal Sacca (@crystale) June 20, 2017
I was wondering if he was for real. Been doing some searching and am ridiculously happy with what I see.
— Bryan William Jones (@BWJones) June 20, 2017