Politics for the next generation

A recent Washington Monthly featured a piece by Zachary Roth on how U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan — a Democrat from the moribund parts of northeast Ohio surrounding Akron and Youngstown, and elected to Congress at the tender age of 28 — is attempting to forge a new politics that will speak to the interests of Gen X-ers and Millennials.

Ryan’s one of the “fighting Dems,” another former football star with fiery anti-Bush rhetoric, is reaching for a pro-trade message that acknowledges the fact of globalization, countering it with a renewed focus on education — and selling the message with attention-grabbing political theater.

“In our part of the country, we have a very strong cultural tie to steel,” Ryan told me later. “And whether we like it or not, the world has changed.” The speech, he said, “was a challenge to change your way of thinking.”