Democrats are lining up behind Randy Bryce hoping he can be the one Democrat capable of defeating House Speaker Paul Ryan. In addition to the money Bryce raised since he announced his candidacy, one of Bryce’s opponents, a carpetbagger named David Yankovich, has dropped out of the race and endorsed Bryce.
Bryce’s candidacy got an additional boost from an appearance on UpFront with Mike Gousha and Bryce’s campaign should pay Gousha for the advertising time. Despite Bryce stating the raison d‘être for his candidacy was his concern about health care, Gousha didn’t ask Bryce one actual policy question on the subject. If he had, Gousha might have learned that Bryce is in favor of single payer health care. When CNN asked Bryce about the $32 trillion price tag, he answered that the government could just tax the rich more:
Randy Bryce: There’s a lot of people getting away without paying their fair share in taxes today. Um, and they benefit the most from society.
John Berman: You want to raise thirty-two trillion dollars in taxes?
Randy Bryce: Well, I’m not saying that, that, we have to look at ways, um, just increase complete costs. There’s a lot of things we can look at as far as cost effective. But, again, … but there’s a lot of people not paying what, you know, their fair share of taxes. They’re corporations getting away with a lot.
Poppy Harlow: That, that would be quite a tax hike. I mean, that’s an astonishing number, thirty-two trillion dollars.
Gousha’s viewers were denied that important bit of information, as well as Bryce promising he’ll go to Washington D.C. to learn what he thinks about North Korea.
Here’s the problem for Democrats. Already the hype over his debut YouTube video has masked the fact that Bryce is a three-time election loser with the policy positions of a typical Madison protester (which Bryce was). One candidate, granted an unserious candidate, has already dropped out of the Democratic primary and endorsed Bryce. The money and the attention Bryce is receiving will deter any other Democrats from getting into the race.
Hiding Bryce’s flaws may make the Democratic Party excited about his chances, but the reality is that Bryce is an unprepared candidate with radical positions on health care and taxes. The best political consultant in the world won’t be able to hide that in a general election. It would have been better for the Democrats had a Wisconsin audience been able to see Bryce’s flaws. Instead, Gousha’s puff interview served as an infomercial for a product that nobody in Wisconsin’s first congressional district will want.
On the flip side, it certainly isn’t Gousha’s job to warn Democrats about the trouble they’re getting into by throwing a ton of money at Bryce. But when Bryce explains he is running for public office on the health care issue, when it was the center of his YouTube commercial, it is incumbent on the interviewer to actually ask Bryce his position. Gousha’s failure to ask the $32 trillion question is a reminder of why the public mistrusts the media – with justification.