Securing the TikTok Vote

If all politics is theater, Representative Tim Ryan is one of its subtler actors. A moderate Democrat from Ohio’s 13th district who has represented the state for nearly two decades, his speeches and debate performances are often described as coming out of central casting. His style choices are D.C. standard. He’s not usually the subject of late-night skits or memes.

That’s not to say he isn’t trying. Back in the spring of 2020, as Covid-19 was overtaking the country and a divided Congress was duking it out over a sweeping stimulus bill, Mr. Ryan, 48, was so frustrated at the stalled legislation that he decided to channel his emotion into a TikTok video.

The 15-second clip features Mr. Ryan lounging around his office in a white button-down and dress pants, his tie slightly loose, as he mimes a clean version of “Bored in the House,” by Curtis Roach. It’s a rap song that resonated with cooped-up Americans early on in the pandemic, featuring a refrain (“I’m bored in the house, and I’m in the house bored”) that appears in millions of videos across TikTok. Most of them depict people losing their minds in lockdown. Mr. Ryan’s interpretation was a little more literal: Bored … in the House … get it?