If Iowa Democrats need one emerging trend to guide them to nominate the strongest candidate against Republican Governor Kim Reynolds, it’s in this May 10 USA Today story: “Women break political ground — They’re smashing records as donors, candidates”
Of course, simply being a woman running against a man doesn’t assure victory. (See Hillary Clinton for details, and why being tarred as the establishment candidate — regardless of party, gender, or truth — is the political kiss of death.)
When Terry Branstad flew off to China and Reynolds slid quietly into the role of governor, the most common comment I heard was, “I don’t know anything about her.”
Well, now we know, and it ain’t pretty. In short order, Reynolds has amassed a track record that puts her at odds with the values and priorities of most Iowans:
– She signed the most restrictive anti-choice law in the country;
– She eviscerated Iowa’s decades-old energy efficiency statute;
– She signed a tax cut that disproportionately benefits Iowa’s thin upper crust;
– She stood against landowners fighting the abuse of eminent domain while supporting Big Oil’s “critical infrastructure” bill; and
– She botched the ongoing saga of sexual harassment and fiscal mismanagement at the Iowa Finance Authority (where her close friend, David Jamison, was in charge).
So, yeah, we know exactly where Kim Reynolds stands, and it’s not with us.
These and other failures of leadership make Reynolds vulnerable. But if the Democratic Elite convince enough rank-and-file Democrats to again nominate an establishment candidate, we risk four more years of Reynolds and a continued downward spiral of Iowa’s quality of life.
To be clear, the Democratic Elite will never rally around a progressive in a primary. That’s why you see so few “big names” backing Cathy Glasson. That’s exactly why Glasson stands out, and one reason you should support her.
The Elite want you to believe voters should nominate a “moderate” Democrat — someone who doesn’t make them feel uncomfortable at their galas and banquets. Really? Because that’s worked so well in the past?
As Bernie Sanders demonstrated, voters are hungry for leadership that puts people ahead of corporate greed and the entrenched forces of political stagnation. Glasson is that leader. There’s no doubt that her allegiance lies with the common person, not the rich and powerful.
Given Glasson’s track record of fighting for change, we know where she stands. (Check out her website.) Consistent with that record, Glasson doesn’t sugar-coat her campaign message. She’s not afraid to offend the Party Elite. More than any other candidate for governor, Glasson’s message resonates beyond the Democratic base. It appeals to voters who don’t give a hoot about either major political party — the same voters who’ll be a key deciding factor in November.
Back to that USA Today article. It doesn’t hurt that Glasson is a woman. Iowa voters are eager to elect women. If the Democratic nominee is male, some voters will cast a ballot for Reynolds simply because she’s female. If Glasson is the Democrats’ standard bearer, that factor is eliminated.
Finally, Democrats should remember what happened in 2006. Congressman Jim Nussle was considered invincible, so Republicans handed him the nomination without a primary challenge. On the Democratic side, the three-way primary between Chet Culver, Mike Blouin and me went to Culver. Culver went on to absolutely crush Nussle.
In 2006, Democrats also gained control of the Iowa House and Senate. Democrats held “the trifecta” for four years, yet accomplished almost nothing. Besides refusing to take action on campaign finance reform, corporate hog confinements, and climate change, the Democratic Legislature passed just one of Labor’s priorities — and Culver vetoed it.
Over the years, I’ve lost track of how many people said they wish they’d vote for me in 2006, but didn’t because they felt pressured by Democratic insiders to support one of the two establishment candidates.
Don’t let that happen again. Don’t nominate a candidate simply because he has the backing of big money. Don’t nominate a candidate who gives a nice campaign speech but lacks the track record to inspire confidence that he’ll deliver on his campaign promises.
With Cathy Glasson, Democrats have both the best candidate on the issues and the strongest candidate to win in November.