Dems could (again) blow clear shot at victory

Dear Friends,

“This whole election is so volatile, and so many people dislike Clinton that it could go that way. I mean, Trump could win.” — Ed Fallon on August 25, 2016

That’s my quote in a Bleeding Heartland story published nearly two years ago, when almost no one thought Donald Trump could prevail against Hillary Clinton’s juggernaut. Sadly, many Iowa Democrats learned nothing from that election. Now many Democrats are lining up behind Fred Hubbell — the one candidate who could lose to Kim Reynolds in November, despite Reynolds’ extreme vulnerability.

Democrats must have missed 2016’s most teachable moment: failing to notice that the candidate tagged as “status quo” (whether true or false) loses.

The Trump-Clinton election shouldn’t have been needed for Democrats to learn this lesson. Remember John Kerry? Bruce Braley? If you come off as the elite candidate you lose — even against a draft dodger like George W. Bush or an unknown state senator like Joni Ernst. Perception trumps reality.

Fred Hubbell

Unfortunately, with Fred Hubbell, perception is reality. There is no way Fred can hide his upper-crust credentials.

Personally, I like Fred. I’ve known him and his wife, Charlotte, since the 1980s. They’ve been financially supportive of my work and once hosted a house party for a nonprofit I directed. I feel bad that I have to say these things.

But the importance of this election compels me to speak bluntly and truthfully to Iowa Democrats. If you nominate Hubbell on June 5, our prospects for defeating Reynolds are greatly diminished.

I see the barrage of ads touting Reynolds’ humble background — growing up on a farm, her dad taking a second job at a factory to make ends meet, working at a grocery store and later as a waitress. That stuff resonates with Iowans. Voters will have a hard time relating to someone as wealthy and privileged as Fred Hubbell, who himself finds it difficult to identify with the challenges most Iowans face.

Case in point is this quote from a May 23, 2018 Des Moines Register story, where Fred talks about organizing a trip to Mount Kilimanjaro for 12 family members: “We walked by the glaciers. We were on top of Africa. That’s the highest point in Africa, so the clouds are below you. … It was a good family experience. It brings people together, and I don’t think it’s something that even our young kids, the nieces and nephews, are ever going to forget.”

Whoa! What does a trip like that cost? I did a little research and it was probably over $100,000. The family vacation most Iowans remember is when the folks piled everyone and the dog into the station wagon and drove to Mount Rushmore.

Cathy Glasson

Mark my words, if Hubbell wins the nomination on June 5, that Kilimanjaro quote will be in a Reynolds attack ad this summer. I don’t care how wealthy Fred is or how many of his rich friends step forward with six-figure checks. Reynolds will have whatever money she needs to hammer home upbringing and lifestyle distinctions. Marginalized and independent voters will gobble it up.

But Democrats have a pathway out of defeat. John Norris or Cathy Glasson would beat Reynolds. Glasson has the best shot. As I’ve said before, not only is she solid on the core issues, but having a woman face off against Reynolds neutralizes one advantage Reynolds might otherwise have.

A lot of Democrats don’t want to hear what I’m saying. What else is new? But again, you didn’t think Donald Trump could win either, did you?

— Ed Fallon

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9 Replies to “Dems could (again) blow clear shot at victory”

    1. Ed Fallon Post author

      Thank you, Lorraine. Please share the blog with others who might find it interesting and helpful leading up to the June 5 primary.

  1. Sam Osborne

    More than Democrats win with Classon or Norris, the people of Iowa do and it is a clear call for real victory in the nation of government of the people, by the people and for the people. Hubbell is a nice guy Republican-Lite Democrat who at best and really worst would serve to further slow decay of the American Dream of the nation’s working masses.

    1. Ed Fallon Post author

      Spot on, Sam. Thanks, and hope you’ll take a few minutes to send this post to others who need to be persuaded.

  2. Paulette

    Is it fact that Classon’s supporters held up silver spoons when Mr Hubbell spoke. Divisive, don’t you think? Mr Hubbell has given of himself, he and Charlitte, all of his adult life. So what if they went on a trip that cost more than I make in years. I’m proud of their service and would hold his experience up to anyone’s in Iowa. Fallon stop the divide. If you don’t have something positive to contribute just be quiet.

    1. Ed Fallon Post author

      I never implied that Fred and Charlotte haven’t been generous and outstanding community members. My point is most Iowans aren’t going to vote for a wealthy guy from Des Moines who’s easily pegged by the opposition as elite.

      In terms of my contribution being “positive,” sometimes silence is negativity. Democrats keep making the same mistakes, and my contribution is to point out that we are again at risk of that happening. That’s not negative; that’s cautionary and realistic.

  3. Bob Gredell

    Iowans MUST remember the screwing state workers took in 2017 and the rest of working families with the changes to Workers Comp. To my knowledge Nate Boulton was the only candidate who addressed this issue. Even Cathy who is a union representative has said little on this. Perhaps everyone is in primary mode and are basically on the same page on this. Progressive issues are very important to me but Iowa workers need to be protected. When bargaining rights were being taken, conservative Facebook friends were wagging their fingers at republican legislators now their posts are all Kim Reynolds. And with democrats basically being silent, state Republicans are suffering no consequences. I was unable to watch the debate so if this was brought up I apologize

  4. Barbara Cliff

    It was no surprise to me that Trump won in 2016. Ms. Clinton went in with weathered scandals under her belt,. Scandals that would stick to a Democratic Candidate like flies to fly paper. In addition, her privileged upbringing did not speak to those of us who have known struggle. She has no more of an idea of what our lives are like than Trump. Trump’s language was as low class as any could get and his wealth seemed to promise that you too could have your golden throne and silver spoon. Some us knew that for a lie. Some of wonder: where are the Bernie Sanders, the Dennis Kucinich, the men and women who champion the people over wealth, power, and prestige?

    Even now having chosen a gubernatorial candidate, I realize I and others like me will have to hold his or her feet to the fire because the rules that apply to those in decision-making positions are different from those of the ordinary citizen working to obtain a living. We must not fail in holding our candidate responsible, because those in power play by the corrupted rules of power and forget that We Are Not Their Stepping Stones!

    1. Barbara Cliff

      I have a few grammatical errors at the end of paragraph one. It should read: “Some of us knew that for a lie. Some of us wonder: …”