“Irreplaceable”?Iowa Democrats Feel Hope Fading


Keokuk, Iowa (AP) — The Democratic Party lost narrowly in the House of Commons elections last year in the Second Protectorate Parliament district of Iowa for the first time in almost 40 years. After a six-vote heartbreaker, some expected Democrat Rita Hart to soon declare a rematch in the southeastern region that her party had long held.

So far, no one has run for the Democratic Party.

Hesitating to dive into a highly competitive area is one measure of Democratic fatigue in a state that has been considered a true battlefield for decades. Despite the gradual weakening of the coronavirus pandemic and the still strong job approval of President Joe Biden, Democrats in Iowa have moved their party, especially from the industrial river town that once claimed to be a fortress. Say you feel retreating.

“We’re irreparable,” said Rich Taylor, a former Democratic senator who was defeated for the first time in eight years on behalf of Lee County on the Mississippi River in the southeastern corner of Mississippi. “I feel like that.” “I believe people in southeastern Iowa will wake up, but I don’t think it will change for the next 20 years.”

It took many years to get here. Democrats have seen their position in rural areas declining for more than a decade. At the same time, their once-dominant power in the state’s factory towns was weakened by the shrinking union power and depopulation. Republican Donald Trump’s popularity among the white working class in these regions Some people feel like the final blow.

“The big question is whether it can be undone,” said Matt Pflug, Democratic Oversight Board in Lee County. “I don’t know if I can do it.”

The Democratic fight to defend the majority of the six seats in the House of Representatives next year could be a fight in a similar river district. In western Wisconsin, Republican Derrick Van Orden wants a rematch with Democrat Ron Kind, who won seats by just 10,000 votes in 2020. From Republican Tyler Kistner.

Further south, Republican Edith Joy King is running again in the western part of Illinois. There, five-term Democrat Cheri Bustos decided not to seek reelection. Bastos received more than 55,000 votes in 2018, nearly 60,000 votes in 2016, and only a few in 2020. We won 12,000 votes.

In northeastern Iowa, there is no rush of Democrats rushing to confront Republican Ashley Hinson, who defeated Abbey Finkenauer, who last year in Iowa’s first state legislative constituency.

The Democratic Party for the People and some local activists say they expect competitive candidates to emerge in both constituencies. Neither Hart nor Finke Nower responded to requests for comment.

Democrats claim that Biden’s economic policies are key to winning these competitions. His proposed infrastructure and family assistance initiative — the $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 bailout passed in March In addition to the package, $ 4 trillion in new spending — “provides unprecedented resources to underserved rural communities in a way that can actually provide generational change.” Sam Cornale, political director of the Democratic National Committee, said:

“But just providing good policy is not enough,” he said. “I also think we need to tell you how it affects everyday Americans.”

Since February, Biden has visited Wisconsin once and Pennsylvania and Michigan twice, but last year he won by a small margin. He had never been to Iowa, where he was 8 percentage points behind Mr. Trump.

Iowa was once a political battlefield. Over the last two decades, the state has rocked back and forth in the presidential election, but the two parties have exchanged control of the governor’s office. For thirty years, it sent liberal Democrat Tom Harkin and conservative Republican Chuck Grassley to the Senate. Harkin’s seat is currently occupied by Republican Joni Ernst.

The Democratic victory relied on union workers, progressive rural agricultural traditions, and support from the state’s small and medium-sized metropolitan areas.

Democratic professor Dave Loebsack has made significant profits in Johnson County, home of the University of Iowa, and a growing suburban corridor, seven times in a row in Iowa’s Second Parliamentary District until his retirement this year. Won the House of Representatives.

Prior to that, Leonard Boswell, a Democrat, peasant, and Vietnam War veteran, Senator Iowa, served for 16 years in the vast countryside of southern Iowa.

However, the once solid Democratic union base is shrinking as manufacturing jobs leave cities such as Burlington, Fort Madison, and Keokuk along the river. This trend has led to the former industrial zone. There are disproportionately elderly voters who do not have a college degree and those who are devoted to the Republican Party.

In 2016, Trump occupied nine of Iowa’s ten counties along the river, but only the largest city, Scott County, was missing. In particular, Trump was a Republican and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Since then, he was the first Republican to take over Dabuke County, the union’s base for decades.

Last year, Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks broke her heart in a parliamentary race after a dramatic rampage on vast farmlands in the area west and south of the Mississippi River. There weren’t enough Democratic votes in the riverside town.

“I used to be able to count on the union’s votes here,” said former state senator Jerry Kerns of Keokuk, in the southeastern corner of Iowa. “not anymore.”

Kerns was president of the local United Steelworkers for 20 of the 38 years at the Henniges auto parts manufacturer. Currently, of the 1,500 Khan who once represented, only about 500 members remain.

Trade union voters are younger than they were 20 years ago and “do not understand what the Democrats have done for organized labor,” he said.

Trade union leaders believe Biden’s agenda benefits workers, but workers themselves are less involved in policy, Kerns said. “Gun, rights, etc. I’m more interested in what the Democrats want to blame for trying to rob, “Karns said.

Case International’s farm equipment plant in Burlington, upstream of the river, maintains a union workforce of about 350, down from 2,300 who worked there 20 years ago. Des Moines and Lee counties had the highest unemployment rates in the state in April.

There are few signs of Keokuk’s growth. Faded, white clapboard Civil War-era homes and pre-war majestic brick businesses stand down the main street and its side streets down the Mississippi River as a prosperous daily monument.

Biden’s financial aid could provide Democratic ammunition for campaigns in such locations. But it will have to compete with the perception that the party has been hijacked by “socialists.”

Former California Senator and longtime trade union official Tom Courtney said more voters than 10 years ago are talking to Democrats he knows and to the party nationwide. When he asked for a comeback campaign last year, his opponents were liberal New York Senator Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Democratic presidential candidate Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. He tied him up with unaffiliated Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

“I think there are a lot of people who like me and my policies but don’t want the Democratic Party because they didn’t like the AOC or Bernie Sanders,” Courtney said. “We have that national message. I didn’t fight. “

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