Democrats who have watched Nancy Pelosi become an all-purpose target in Republican ads have begun to turn the tables, with a new ad from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee trying out an attack on Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.).
“Paul Ryan and Washington’s establishment Republicans, catering to drug companies and special interests,” says a narrator, as a smiling Ryan is seen working with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “Coming after your health care. Increasing your out-of-pocket costs. A devastating age tax if you’re 50 or older. Ending guaranteed coverage for preexisting conditions.”
The ad, a small cable buy that will be accompanied by radio spots in 11 targeted districts, comes after party research and public polling has found Ryan becoming increasingly toxic with independent and Republican voters. According to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll, released last week, just 31 percent of voters now view Ryan favorably. And Democratic research, conducted over the summer, found Republicans increasingly blaming Ryan for what was seen as sluggish progress in Washington.
A focus on Ryan would represent a shift from the messaging that failed Democrats in 2016, linking Republicans to Donald Trump. Republicans’ own polling finds that voters still distinguish between the president and the congressional GOP. But Democrats, increasingly, see that as an opening — a way to reintroduce the party, whose brand remains badly tarnished, to voters who supported Trump but oppose the GOP’s economic agenda.