Five Messages Iowa Democrats Can Rally Around In 2018 Races

Does it seem like Republicans send out an email every morning with their key talking points? All their spokespeople immediately begin to repeat these points and they have their message for the day. It’s obviously not that simple, but most would probably agree that Democrats aren’t nearly as adept at uniting on messaging either nationally or locally.

In presidential years, the Democratic candidate is expected to provide the overriding message and slogan that other Democratic candidates down ticket can simply repeat and follow. Remember the effective 2008 Obama slogan? “Hope and Change we can believe in.”

Preparing for November 2018 without a presidential contest, the Iowa gubernatorial race will most likely define the two parties and craft the message for their candidates. It will be up to Fred Hubbell to build the case for his election with Iowa voters. That doesn’t mean every Democratic candidate must imitate verbatim Hubbell’s message. All politics is local and every Democratic candidate must tailor their message to their constituency.

However, crafting a general Democratic message with Hubbell in the lead will likely be crucial in unifying the Democratic Party. A unified message with a few simple priorities makes it easier for candidates, campaign staff, party leaders and political volunteers to communicate effectively. Democrats must quickly unite on a clear and concise message that describes Hubbell and his vision for Iowa under his leadership.

Hubbell has chosen a couple simple slogans for both uniting Iowans and promising a growing Iowa economy, “Putting people first” and “Get Iowa growing.”

His campaign has initially identified five major priorities that include: adequate public education funding, increasing Iowans’ income, improving healthcare, protecting the Iowa environment and restoring worker rights.

Kim Reynolds is vulnerable on each of these priorities since she has totally failed to unite Iowans on any single goal. That’s why she’s advertising her small town roots rather than any successes.

Here is a brief description of Hubbell’s five priorities with a comparison to Reynolds’ positions. You are encouraged to visit Hubbell’s website to view his comprehensive plan for Iowa.

  1. The Iowa legislature under Republican control passed and Reynolds signed public education bills that resulted in a net cut to funding. The 1% increase in 2018 doesn’t cover basic inflation. Hubbell’s public education message calls for the creation of a fully funded world-class education from pre-K through college.


  1. Reynolds along with Branstad promised a 25% increase in wages in their 2010 campaign. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce State Personal Income 2017 report, Iowa ranks 49 in the nation for personal income growth at a rate of 0.3 percent. Hubbell’s message focuses on job creation, economic development and tax reform that puts people first.


  1. Reynolds continues to defend a Medicaid privatization scheme that has resulted in a healthcare emergency for hundreds of Iowans. In addition, she signed a bill that couldn’t even qualify as healthcare insurance. The totally unregulated plan strips many of the benefits achieved in recent years including a provision protecting patients with pre-existing conditions. Hubbell’s message identifies improving mental health access, restoring women’s reproductive healthcare and ending Medicaid privatization.


  1. Reynolds has overseen a continuing deterioration in Iowa water quality as over half the water bodies are impaired. With 750 impaired water bodies, a growing Gulf of Mexico dead zone and declining soil health, Iowans are demanding real improvement in water quality. Hubbell’s environmental plan calls for investments in renewables, preserving topsoil and restoring water quality in Iowa lakes and rivers.


  1. Reynolds and Iowa Republicans have declared war on public employees when they stripped collective bargaining rights. This is personal to Fred Hubbell, a former labor union member. His daughter and son-in-law are currently union members. Hubbell is committed to restoring Chapter 20. He has said that if Iowans want world class education for their children we must restore teachers’ bargaining rights.

Fred Hubbell has rightly called Reynolds out on her failure to address any of these priorities. These five priorities are issues that Democrats have said are essential to them. They reflect the direction of this year’s progressive platform and link to many of the goals of Iowa’s Democratic legislators.

Hubbell’s campaign offers solutions instead of more excuses from Reynolds and her Republican cronies. It will be the responsibility of every Democrat to echo and amplify Hubbell’s goals by putting people first and getting Iowa growing.


by Rick Smith
Posted 7/13/18

3 Comments on "Five Messages Iowa Democrats Can Rally Around In 2018 Races"

  • The support and on-point messaging goes both ways, however. One thing that Republicans do seem to be good at is keeping their message (and their support) unified by making sure that the conduit is two-way. From the top down setting basic “guidelines” and those on the coattails echoing those points. And downballot candidates (all politics IS local; you’re absolutely correct, Rick) supporting the top of the ticket AND the leader supporting those downballot candidates.
    Consider it amost a feedback loop. And this year, we have some great issues to pump into that pipeline/counduit/loop. We must do this, as well.(and do it better than the other side!)

  • When are these messages going out to the general public? Someone needs to counter Gov. Reynolds ads that are currently running. Quit letting her define her tenure and hit Iowans with the facts about what she and her cronies have done to the state.

  • With all due respect, the way Democrats win elections is to absolutely NOT imitate or repeat what the Republican opponent is saying or proposing. Democrats win when they have strong, policy-driven messaging and policy proposals. The populace responds when there is something they can vision will happen under a new leader’s leadership. When Democrats are Republican-lite, they lose. Every. Time. This election is the most important in our lifetimes. We must take back the state. The slippery slope in Iowa’s turn to red began when Democrats didn’t articulate populist platforms. They let the likes of Steve King and Joni Ernst speak louder than all the reasonable people that came before them.

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