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I'm pulling the alarm': Pelosi challenger worried Democrats will 'cease being a national party

Ohio Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan (YouTube/Fox Business Channel)

The fact that President-elect Donald Trump won the presidency earlier this month proves the Democratic Party has some big problems and could be its way to extinction, according to Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who is challenging House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for her leadership post.

During an interview Monday on the Fox Business Channel, Ryan sounded the alarm and made the case for why he should replace Pelosi and wrest control of the party from insiders:

The average American, the average working-class American, flipped their middle finger to the establishment — the Democratic establishment, the Republican establishment, Wall Street — they think everybody is more concerned with the donor class than they are with the working class.

And they sent a very strong signal, which is why I got into this race, because I'm trying to convince my colleagues, 200 members of our Democratic caucus, that the American people have asked for us to change things, and we can't keep going down the same road.

Following Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's surprising loss on Election Day — and the Republicans' retention of the House of Representatives and the Senate — progressives have been left scrambling to find fresh leadership and determine what role they will play in dealing with the incoming Trump administration.

"I'm pulling the fire alarm right now is what I'm doing in the Democratic Party," Ryan told Fox Business. "I believe we're in denial of what's happened. I'm pulling the fire alarm because the house is burning down."

Toward the end of the interview, Ryan offered a stunning warning about the future of the Democratic Party, cautioning that — if extreme changes aren't made — one of the country's two largest political factions might just disappear:

We better get our act together or we will cease being a national party, we're going to be a regional party that fails to get into the majority and fails to do things on behalf of those working class people that were the backbone of the Democratic Party for so long. White, black, brown, gay straight, everybody wants economic opportunity, and they don't see the Democrats as the party providing that, and we'd better get our stuff together.

For the past 14 years, Pelosi has been the face of the Democratic Party in Congress. But after delaying the vote on the minority leader spot earlier this month, Democrats will determine on Nov. 30 whether they endorse the status quo or want to shake things up with a new leader.

Ryan's warning echoes that of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I), who over the weekend called on the Democrats to cut it out with the "identity politics." He said he is "deeply humiliated" the Democratic Party "cannot talk to the people where I came from," meaning the white, working class.

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