The Triumph of Pat Ryan

“How can we be a free country if the government tries to control women’s bodies?”

That what Pat Ryan said in a 30-second ad touting his background as a West Point graduate and his service in Iraq. “That’s not the country I fought to defend.”

Democrat Pat Ryan has won a special election for an open congressional seat north of New York City that has been called a national bellwether ahead of the November midterms.

“Choice was on the ballot. Freedom was on the ballot, and tonight choice and freedom won. We voted like our democracy was on the line because it is. We upended everything we thought we knew about politics and did it together,” Ryan tweeted early Wednesday morning after the Associated Press called the race.

With 100% of the vote counted, unofficial results from the New York state Board of Elections showed Ryan leading Republican Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro 51.1% to 48.8%.

The bellwether New York primary Tuesday confirms what polls in the last week have been telling us: The cup of American democracy, which many advocates have long seen as half-empty, may actually be half-full. Americans now seem ready to take their twin desires to preserve democracy and abortion rights to the polls in November.

The 19th covers a swath of mostly suburban and rural country in the Hudson Valley and Catskills regions, north of New York City and south of Albany. It is a classic bellwether district, having voted narrowly for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election and then narrowly for Joe Biden in 2020.

Along the way, it sent a Republican to Congress in 2016 and elected a Democrat two years later, as part of the 2018 “blue wave.” The assumption going into this special election was that Biden’s poor approval ratings would translate into another switch, with the district sending a Republican to Congress once again.

The GOP nominee was Marc Molinaro, a popular local politician and former gubernatorial candidate who was focusing his campaign on inflation and crime, problems he blamed on the Biden administration. It seemed like a winning strategy — until June, when the Supreme Court ended the right to abortion in America with its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Ryan made abortion rights almost the primary focus of his campaign, using the Dobbs decision to paint Republicans as extremists and tying it to broader themes of freedom.

Ryan also emphasized the importance of making a statement to the nation, telling The Washington Post that ​​“this has to be a national referendum on Roe. It’s our first chance to send this message, that the country is not going to tolerate this erosion of our fundamental rights.”

Molinaro argued that abortion rights were not an issue in New York and that his constituents were more concerned about inflation and crime.

Now this election was held only to fill an empty seat until November after which this district disappears under the new congressional reapportionment maps adopted in New York.    One would think most folks wouldn’t bother to vote and that the party in power would lose this seat.

Not this time.  Ryan tapped into that feeling people have when they are deprived of the ability to make decisions in their own lives. ” You have a bunch of Supreme Court justices and a bunch of Christian nationalists saying you can’t have control over your own body ― and people are thinking, nope, no way, I don’t want that,”

And so Pat Ryan and this soon to disappear “bell weather” district sent a message, the message from Kansas voters still reverberating in the Hudson Valley.

Those states adopting the most repressive abortion restrictions don’t dare put it to the voters.  Not after Kansas.  Not after the 19th New York.




About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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3 Responses to The Triumph of Pat Ryan

  1. beetleypete says:

    Not my country, or my politics, but I say a loud “WELL DONE!” to Pat.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. GP says:

    Agreed. It isn’t just women’s rights in trouble here. Most of these people are voting because of their religious convictions and that brings the division of church and state into question.

    Liked by 1 person

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