Democrats are often criticized for lacking a clear, concise message. Gubernatorial candidate Fred Hubbell has overcome that critic by uniting Iowa Democrats by focusing on just a few key priorities. He has made health care reform, jobs and education funding the focus of his campaign. There are certainly a number of other issues that he has included in his position statements and on the campaign trail, but his unwavering focus on these priorities is working.
There is an added benefit of Hubbell’s messaging on these three issues. They are a perfect fit for Iowa Democratic legislative candidates as well. Every Democratic candidate should be able to appeal to their local voters by running on these issues in sync with Hubbell.
All politics is local, and legislative candidates may have other specific issues they will promote to their voters. However, they don’t need to run away from fixing Medicaid, funding education or offering to work for better paying jobs.
The recent Iowa Poll covering the period September 17-20 confirms that Hubbell has chosen to focus on the most important issues to Iowans. One could certainly argue that by his campaign’s relentless pounding on these issues, he has contributed significantly to elevating them in importance to Iowans. The Iowa Poll asked Iowans:
“Which one or two of the following do you see as the most important issues for the next governor to address?” The responses match closely to Hubbell’s priorities. These are the top three issues that Iowans identified as most important to them.
- Health care-51%
The breakdown by party on the importance of health care is significant as well. Democrats rate health care importance at 68%, independents at 52% and Republicans at 36%. The fact that independent voters choose health care as their top priority suggests Hubbell’s commitment to improving healthcare is on the right track with both Democrats and independents. National polling by Pew Research Center reflects a growing public recognition of the importance of health care. Over 60% of Americans say ensuring health care coverage is the government’s responsibility.
Not only do these three key issues resonate with the public, they initiate the larger conversation on both Governor Reynolds and the Republican-controlled legislature’s mismanagement. If the public sees these three issues as major concerns to their family’s future, then they are questioning the current Iowa Republican leadership. On each of these three issues, Democrats are offering change with solid solutions while Republicans are supporting the status quo.
Hubbell is committed to fixing the broken Medicaid privatization system while Reynolds stubbornly sticks to her claim that it’s working. Hubbell supports funding for both women’s health care with Planned Parenthood and mental health needs. Reynolds opposes funding Planned Parenthood and has failed to adequately fund the mental health system.
On education funding, Republicans have slowed funding for K-12 and cut it for higher education. Hubbell will support adequate funding for both as well as Pre-K.
Republicans’ repeal of the Democrats’ attempts to increase the minimum wage, their attacks on unions and workers’ rights makes it impossible for the GOP to claim they support raising Iowans incomes.
The expanded conversation on the Republicans’ failure on these issues puts into question all of Iowa Republican initiatives, from the attacks on collective bargaining to the repeated budget cuts. It’s obvious that Reynolds and Iowa Republicans have been forced to play defense as their handling of these key issues is put into question.
Reynolds and the Republican legislature have been branded as incompetent and overreaching in their failed leadership. Democrats must continue to hammer them with their failure on these issues.
Iowa Democratic legislative candidates are benefitting from Hubbell’s focus on these issues, as well. Hubbell’s issues are their issues in running against the Republican controlled legislature. The Hubbell campaign and nearly every Democratic candidate can be unified in this messaging.
Democrats must continue to tell voters that Democratic candidates will protect their health care needs by ending Medicaid privatization, by funding mental health needs and by continuing to work for affordable health care for all. Democrats under Hubbell’s leadership will demand the funds to rebuild Iowa’s once world-class education system. Hubbell in partnership with a Democratic legislature will get Iowa incomes growing by putting people first.
That’s the winning messages Democrats can campaign on between now and November 6th.
by Rick Smith