Today’s the day that most Iowa Democratic primary candidates will learn whether all their time, work and speeches paid off with a clear win. For a few candidates, it’s possible they won’t reach the 35% threshold and will need to continue their campaigns to the convention.
For those candidates that win their primary today, the first thing Democrats should do is thank them and their fellow Democratic competitors for running. We owe all these candidates our thanks for spending the past year competing in all these numerous races.
Once Democrats thank all the candidates, their next move should be to congratulate the winning candidates and celebrate their success. Once we celebrate the winners chosen by Democratic primary voters, we must unite to defeat the Republicans in November.
There can be no more talk of holding our nose simply because winning candidates weren’t our first choice. Democratic voters will choose today; and if we believe in democracy, we must respect their choices even if they vary from our own. The 2016 loss should still be fresh in our memories. To a large extent Trump won because Democrats didn’t enthusiastically unite behind our candidates in 2016.
We can’t afford to make that mistake again. Our democracy literally depends on reversing the Trump agenda. Iowa’s future as a blue state depends on successfully uniting in opposition to the Reynolds’ regime. Now is the time to put Democratic division behind us and unite to elect all our candidates that won their primary.
Not only do we need to thank all our candidates for running, we owe a big thank you to their families and their supporters for the countless hours spent on their campaigns. Our Democratic candidates have devoted a year or more of their lives to their campaigns. They have missed family events, put jobs on hold and postponed other personal priorities. They made that monumental sacrifice working to become our representatives for elected offices. We need to offer a special thanks to the spouses, children and extended families of candidates that shared in that sacrifice as well.
The candidates’ staff need recognition as well. For the winners, much of the campaign staff will stay employed, but for all the losing candidates, their staff will be looking for work. Some of them will be absorbed by other campaigns, but for many a new job search begins. If you see them, a big thanks is in order.
Tonight and tomorrow, Democrats should join unanimously in congratulating the winners of their primaries and celebrate their victories. Even if the winners are not the candidates we favored, we can’t afford to deny them our support. I can’t imagine a Democratic candidate that won their primary that wouldn’t be a better choice than the Republican alternative. The quicker Democrats can join in celebrating the winning candidates, the faster we can transition to the real battle for November.
Finally, if Democrats don’t unite quickly and unequivocally, it opens the door to sniping about perceived weaknesses of the winning Democratic candidates. Democrats can’t afford to waste any time giving Republicans talking points that will damage Democratic candidates in the general election. Republicans don’t need any assistance in finding fault with Democratic candidates.
The losing candidates have a responsibility as well to rally their supporters behind the winning candidates. Many times Democratic candidates commented that any of their Democratic competitors on stage would be better than the Republican opponent. Starting tonight, the losing candidates can walk that talk by unequivocally endorsing the winners.
There is no more powerful message Democrats can send to Trump and Reynolds than a totally united Iowa Democratic team. Democrats have momentum; and now after today’s results we will have our candidates. United we win, divided we fail.
by Rick Smith