Pat Rynard of Iowa Starting Line is stepping up to formulate a plan for getting back the Iowa legislature. At least someone is doing something. Anyway, if you haven’t yet, there is a link in the post to sign up to submit whatever ideas you have and be part of the discussion.
Last night was a very bad night for the Iowa Democratic Party and the future of our state. Iowa was engulfed in a red tidal wave that wiped out the party’s majority in the Iowa Senate, handing full control of state government over to the Republicans. The legislative session will be a frightening one, and many Democrats are wondering today whether the party can ever claw it’s way back from this red state status.
The answer is a simple one: we can.
Despite the incredible difficulties that lie ahead and the vast shift in Iowa policies certain to come, there are real reasons for hope. For one, in Iowa we have nonpartisan redistricting. Every year there are winnable seats all across Iowa. In 2010 Democrats went from 56 seats in the Iowa House to 40. They bounced back to 47 seats in 2012, and came within just a few hundred votes of getting a 50-50 tie. We’re at 41 now, and there will be over a dozen competitive districts to play in next cycle.
For the Iowa Senate, we’re facing a multi-cycle journey. That’s okay, we just need to accept the challenge. There will be two key pick-up opportunities next cycle in the Sioux City and Ottumwa-based districts. Depending on the mood of the country, two additional seats in suburban areas of Polk and Scott counties could be put into play. There will also be some tough defense districts in 2018, but Democrats should be able to gain back at least two seats to set us up for 2020. As long as Trump doesn’t have a crazy repeat victory night then, Democrats can recapture all of the seats we lost last night and put one or two additional districts into play. Ending 2020 with 30 Democratic senate seats is not an impossible dream.
In the short term, Democrats need all hands on deck for the special election on December 27th in Davenport for Joe Seng’s seat. It’s a heavily-Democratic district, but at this point no one is taking it for granted given last night’s results.
The other reason for optimism is this: President Donald Trump could turn out to be a total disaster. He’s going into the White House with barely half-formed policy ideas and no clear vision for the future. He won by running against everything. Now he has to do something. And with Republicans in complete control both nationally and in Iowa, they will completely own everything that happens. Their underlying conservative policies are unpopular. And Trump’s temperament problem could crop up in office and undermine everything.
The 2018 midterm could turn out as one of the greatest Democratic wave elections ever if Trump turns out as bad as many of us think he will be. Democrats in Iowa will be led by whomever we select as our party’s gubernatorial nominee. Hopefully a spirited primary gets activists excited, and we end up with a great candidate.
There are obviously many longterm structural, ideological and messaging problems within the Democratic Party, both nationally and in Iowa, that will have to be addressed. Honestly, I don’t think many of us know yet exactly what all the answers to that are. Hillary Clinton did not lose last night because of one single problem. We’ll have to dig into the election result numbers and do some soul-searching within the party to figure out how we address each one.
One thing, however, is clear: Democrats need to rebuild the state party back from its current shaky reputation. One of the more stinging embarrassments of late 2016 was President Barack Obama passing on one last rally in Iowa, the place where it all began for him. This was the site of his final rally in 2012, with Bruce Springsteen performing in front of a crowd of 20,000 in the East Village. Clinton’s last visit to Iowa over a week ago drew maybe 1,500 to Roosevelt High School in Des Moines. Obama loves Iowa, but we couldn’t even bring him back for one event. The fact that Iowa Democrats no longer have the national clout to make something like that happen is distressing. We need to prove to Democrats everywhere, here and nationally, that we run a competent, effective organization.
Even in all of the despair last night, there were some Democratic activists in Iowa who were ready and eager to immediately jump back into the fight. That’s encouraging, and hopefully we can keep that level of energy through into next year.
So, what can Democrats do today? I have one very small suggestion to start out with: collect and send in any legislative GOP mailers or ads you still have. Many of the Republicans running for the Statehouse essentially ran as Democrats on several key issues, like increasing school funding, even though they have fought that tooth and nail during past sessions. When they inevitably break their campaign promises once in Des Moines, they should pay for that. As soon as they vote to underfund our schools, Democrats need to call them out on it, share their old mailers or TV ads on social media and buy Facebook ads to spread it into their districts. We cannot only start talking about Republican legislators’ records with voters two months out from the 2018 election.
So check your mail piles and trash cans to see if you still have those mailers and email them to me at IowaStartingLine@gmail.com.
Starting Line is also going to start laying out a series of posts about ideas and suggestions for where the Iowa Democratic Party goes from here, starting next week. Some will be big-picture visions, some will be simple suggestions for special projects that a dozen people could take on.
I’d like many of my readers to be a part of that discussion, and want to hear your thoughts and get your ideas. Sign up on this form, and I’ll be sending out questions throughout the next week.
Last night was rough. But despite Iowa’s sudden rightward shift, that’s not what this state fundamentally is about. Democrats will fight back, and we will win.
by Pat Rynard
Today is election day. The polls in Iowa are open from 7 am – 9 pm. Iowa has same-day voter registration. If you have an absentee ballot in your possession, don’t mail it, but you may take it with you to your polling location.
In order to send the Trump Republicans and the GOP obstructionists in Iowa a message we must vote for Democrats up and down the ballot.
Trump Republicans will be very happy and encouraged to continue their gutter tactics if you spend your precious vote on a 3rd party candidate or if you do not vote at all.
A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for progress.
Take 11 minutes out of your day and check out this KWQC interview with Dave where there is no negative campaigning, just information about the issues. Topics include rural broadband, mental health and substance abuse, health insurance public option, wind energy, veterans and more.
Let’s make sure Iowa’s only Democrat in Congress has our support. You can read Dave’s bio. here. Early voting is happening now. Click here to find your early voting location. Click here to find your regular polling location on election day. Click here to volunteer for Dave’s campaign. Click here to donate
Since Republican Governor Terry Brandstad will not face election for another two years, the Iowa GOP’s goal is to hold the House and flip the Senate by gaining three seats.
The Kochs are backing 21 candidates for the Iowa State House and 9 candidates for the State Senate for a total of 32.
Only Oklahoma (43) and Texas (74), have more candidates supported by the Kochs.
“We’ve had very little success moving the needle at the federal level. It’s always difficult,” said Koch General Council Mark Holden to Politico recently, but “we have had a lot of success at the state level and we hope that we will continue to do so.”
In addition to state level candidates the Kochs are backing two Iowa incumbents for U.S. Congress.
Rep. Rod Blum (IA-01) received a contribution of $4,000 from KochPAC to Blum for Congress. [BFIA editor’s note: Blum’s $4,000 is the largest amount given to an Iowa candidate by the Kochs.]
Rep. Steve King (IA-04) received $2,500 from KochPAC to King for Congress.
[As of June 2016] $400 million of the $889 pledge by the Kochs through their “Freedom Partners” network has already been invested in the outcome of the 2016 elections, with more money to be spent. www.prwatch.org/news/2016/05/13107/koch-candidates-2016-revealed
Disclosed spending the tip of the iceberg
Much of this research is focused on disclosed spending through Political Action Committee reports, but the bulk of the Koch network spending is through dark money vehicles that don’t disclose the donors or the recipients of the Koch-fueled largesse.
Spending by the Koch dark money network usually comes in the form of big ad buys on TV and the internet, framed as “issue ads” closer to elections, along with robo-calls, door-knocking with candidate-specific door hangers, rallies, and other operations that are more visible nearer to the elections.
Thom Hartmann also asked Vilsack why Iowa is the only state where virtually all of the Republican elected officials have come out and aggressively endorsed Donald Trump. Watch the video for Vilsack’s candid response.
Watch this video, and follow Thom Hartmann, host of the #1 progressive talk show.
“The big lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and all who conspire together in the art of lying.” [see below for the author of this quote].
Republicans are practiced Liars. I don’t like to give them credit and say they are masters at lying or that they have perfected the art of lying, as if it is an admirable thing. The fact is that they simply lie a lot. They have to because if people knew what they were really up to, they would not exist as a major party today. Democrats don’t have much reason to lie because they at least have an honest mission that they care about, imperfect as you may feel Democrats are.
Here’s how Republicans do it.
“In the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily. And thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than to the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters and would be ashamed to resort to large scale falsehoods. It would never come into their minds to fabricate colossal untruths and they would thus not believe that others could have the impetus to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts that prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds they will still doubt and waver and they will continue to think that there must be some other explanation for the grossly impudent lie. The big lie always leaves traces behind it even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and all who conspire together in the art of lying.” – Mein Kampf by Adolph Hitler
One thing that all good political organizers know is that you never, ever celebrate until the polls are closed and ALL of the votes are counted. Yet I’ve been seeing a lot of Democrats breaking out their victory dances, long before Election Day.
They need to cut it out. NOW.
It pains me to say it, but Donald Trump is still a very dangerous candidate. His voters are extremely motivated and passionate, and he is still holding on to a lead in some crucial swing states like Ohio.
I made my new movie, “Michael Moore in TrumpLand,” because I believe that Democrats can’t rest until Trump is GONE — completely, utterly and totally defeated in the kind of landslide that Republicans will be having nightmares about for decades.
But this election isn’t just about Trump (even if Trump is still the worst.) It’s about Congress. It’s about flipping the Senate, and making previously unimaginable gains in the House and in state governments everywhere.
It’s about Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie freaking Sanders.
If we get out the progressive vote in this crazy election, we can put Bernie in power and build the kind of progressive majority we need to make the policies behind the political revolution a reality. But that is going to take a lot of work in the next  days. That’s why I’m asking you to support DFA’s relentless work to maximize progressive turnout in key states.
With 10 days left, and final budget decisions being made right now, my friends at Democracy for America need your help urgently. Please chip in $3 or more today to help DFA expand its 96-hour GOTV program, get progressives to the polls, flip the Senate — and give Bernie the gavel.
Here’s the thing about Donald Trump: He has absolutely electrified his followers, but he has also scrambled the electoral map in a way that few political pundits saw coming.
That means that on Election Day, literally anything could happen. Trump and his merry band of corrupt GOP followers could eke out a horrifying come-from-behind victory. OR, we could see a progressive wave that sweeps the nation — one that puts our greatest policy dreams within our reach.
Close elections are always, always, ALWAYS won in the field. That’s why the work DFA is doing right now matters so much. DFA members are killing it on the phones and on the doors in states like North Carolina and Nevada, where the results of races that are currently neck-and-neck will determine which party will lead the Senate in 2017.
Want to see Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren running the show in the most progressive Senate ever? Then pitch in $3 — or whatever you can afford — to help DFA expand programs like Political Revolution in My Backyard and DFA Dialer in these final pivotal days.
Thanks for staying engaged in this important election — and for supporting DFA!
– Michael Moore
P.S. If you’re still sitting on the sidelines or don’t feel excited by politics this year — or if you just need a laugh! — you should check out my new film. Click here to find a theater near you that is playing “Michael Moore in TrumpLand” or, if you can’t find a local theater that is playing it, you can download it at iTunes.com/Trumpland or get it on Amazon right now! Hope you like it — and spread the word!
Here is a new Monica Vernon ad. She is a Democrat running for congress in Iowa’s District 1. Please vote for her if you live in her district, and all of the other Democrats on the ballot. It’s not too late to vote early. Find your early voting location here.