On the day I am writing this there is 203 days to go before the fall elections. On that day Iowans will pick a new governor, determine which party is in control of both the House and Senate in Iowa, participate in determining what the Congress will look like and elect any number of other candidates in down-ballot races.
It has become apparent over the last few years that the Republican Party has become substantially more conservative. Personally, I believe that is true but I do not believe that the middle-of-the-road voter in Iowa has gone that direction. In addition some would posit that the Democrat party has become a bit more liberal. I’m not sure that that is necessarily the case, but may look like it given the dramatic move to the right of the R’s.
I raise these issues because it is assumed that the D’s will be successful in gaining more control of government at both the state and federal levels this fall. I also believe that to be extraordinarily successful the D’s need to attract the non-party affiliated voter. I’m not sure what the current numbers are but a few years ago there was almost an equal number of D’s, R’s and Independents, between 600,000 and 700,000 in each category. With those roughly equivalent numbers it becomes very obvious the party that attracts the middle, wins.
So with that in mind here are 3 things I think the D’s need to do to win big.
- Do not do what the R’s have done the last two years in the IA General Assembly – and that is once in power pass everything your constituency on the far right wants (i.e., far left for the D’s.) Pay attention to what the middle-of-the-road voter wants. Actually, that’s not hard. I think I am a middle-of-the-road Democrat and here is my bucket list. Have an honest government, truthful, no sexual harassment, few if any special deals that help one group at the expense of another and compromise when and wherever you can. A tax code that is fair, water that is clean or getting cleaner, health care that works (what we have is disastrous) and sensible gun laws like a majority of Iowans and even the average NRA member supports. Finally, return to a better educational system that is fair and funded and you have my vote. Oh, and also do away with fireworks so we don’t have our veterans with PTSD burying their heads, thinking it is gunfire.
- Keep up the kind of campaign currently going on with Democrats running for governor. It is issue oriented, not nasty or mean and it is the kind of campaign that, if it continues this way, at the conclusion I could vote for anyone running on the D side. That is the kind of campaign we need to run to win in the general.
- A few years ago I was privileged to have dinner with Ambassador Ryan Crocker, probably the most decorated Ambassador ever to serve. He stated that the most important word in foreign relations, and I would submit also in politics is “empathy.” Do not get it confused with sympathy. Empathy is gaining a deep understanding where your opponent is coming from and when you can, agree and support them. When you can’t, do it with integrity.
by Dick Goodson