Can the “yoga vote” carry Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, to the White House?
The midwestern Democrat, best known for unsuccessfully challenging Nancy Pelosi for leadership in the House of Representatives after the 2016 election, is reportedly preparing to run for president in 2020. Relatively young at 45 and representing “Trump country” in the Rust Belt near Youngstown, Ohio, the former college football star sounds like an ideal candidate to attract some of the Trump voters Democrats need to defeat President Trump. But in a potential field that is expected to be enormous, with Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and various blue-state governors and mayors all indicating a desire to run, how could Ryan differentiate himself?
The Intercept reports that he wants to do it with “yoga.”
Ryan has long been a champion of mindfulness, meditation, and similar pursuits, and has even created a “Quiet Time Caucus” in the House of Representatives. James Gimian, the publisher of Mindful magazine who knows Ryan, said he isn’t sure whether Ryan will run for president, but that the yoga vote has gone mainstream in recent years. “The so-called yoga voters are the kind of folks who realize that while they grew up with their mom saying, ‘Pay attention,’ nobody trained them in how to pay attention and use their mind to focus on what’s important,” he said. “That’s a growing population — it’s no longer just Lululemon yoga women.” He said that anybody who is negotiating the “emotional land mine of modern day living” could be someone Ryan’s message would resonate with.
Ryan, who was elected to Congress at age 29, is the author of the 2012 book “A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit.”
“It gets marginalized by calling it the yoga vote. I think it’s much bigger than that,” Gimian said. “His aspiration is to bring this kind of conversation to a wider office.”
The group Yoga Votes (“One body united for change”) puts the total number of people who do yoga in the U.S. at 20 million, and Ryan has done work with the group.
Asked about his chances, Ryan is said to have told one political operative, “I’m going to win.”
Well, at least he’s confident. The problem for Ryan, though, is that he’s probably not crazy-far-left enough for the Democratic base to win anything in the 2020 Democratic primary. He didn’t have the confidence of the Democratic caucus when he challenged Pelosi, and although he’s urged Democrats to focus on the middle of the country instead of the coasts, that is not the Democratic Party.
Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.
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