MONROE, Iowa – This strip in southeastern Iowa is not meant to be a nail bite for Democrats.
For more than a decade, voters in the university city of Iowa City have been selecting Democratic candidates for Congress. That changed, however, this month when Conservatives ruling the more rural parts of the district emerged in droves to help President Donald Trump and other Republicans vote.
Almost three weeks after election day,. Iowa Congressional District No Winner Announced. This is a sign of the unexpected strength Republicans have shown in house races across the country by defeating at least 10 Democratic incumbents and crushing Spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi’s bold prediction of double-digit majority increase.
Instead, the Democrats appear to have made a serious misjudgment in assuming their dislike for Trump would fuel victories across the country. They couldn’t foresee that Trump’s supporters would show up in rural areas with even greater force than before.
« It’s the Trump factor, » said Jasper County Republican chairman Thad Nearmyer on his farm outside Monroe. “People were very excited to be voting for president. ”
Of course, Trump has lost the presidency and Democrat Joe Biden will move into the White House in January after winning nearly 80 million votes nationwide, a historic high. But enthusiasm for Biden – or for defeating Trump – didn’t let up on other Democrats.
This means that the party is faced with a reckoning of how it is supposed to advance. The Democratic Congressional Campaigns Committee, which supports House Party candidates, begins an in-depth review of events.
Early interpretations blame a number of missteps. Most important among them was to allow Republicans to portray Democrats as radical, which in some cases overtook the party’s message about guaranteeing health insurance during a pandemic and rebuilding the economy. Democrats also failed to increase their attractiveness with some Latinos, particularly Cuban Americans in South Florida.
Other strategic decisions are being examined. The Democrats scaled back their personal campaigns and acquisitions due to the novel coronavirus to protect their candidates and employees and to model good behavior during a public health crisis.
But that gave Trump an opportunity to rally his supporters. The president’s nearly 74 million votes are the second highest in history and have sparked a massive turnout that has helped reshape the races of the House, especially in rural areas.
In the last leg of the campaign, Iowa was considered competitive. But Trump’s visit to the capital Des Moines two weeks before the election is said to have helped build momentum to carry the state by 9 percentage points.
That dominance overturned the Republicans, including Mariannette Miller-Meeks in WWII. Congressional district. Miller-Meeks’ vote was 15 percentage points higher than the Republican who ran for the seat in 2016, when Trump also won Iowa.
The same dynamic helped Republican Ashley Hinson beat the first-term Democratic representative. Abby Finkenauer of northeast Iowa and, perhaps most notably, repealed Republican Michelle Fischbach to remove the 30-year-old Democratic Representative. Collin Peterson in rural southern Minnesota.
« Trump’s poison was deeper in the electorate’s bloodstream than anyone realized, » said Bradley Beychok, who ran a promotional program for the Democratic Super-PAC-American Bridge against Trump in the northern swing states.
There were few bright democratic spots outside the rural areas as the party’s congressional candidates fell short across the country.
Democrats gave up their seats in South Florida and California and failed to win seats in Texas, despite targeting 10. Rep. Max Rose lost to New York’s Staten Island and Rep. Joe Cunningham was unable to win re-election in South Carolina, which includes Charleston, and Utah’s only Congressional Democrat, Rep. Ben McAdams.
This leads to an intense finger pointing round among the Democrats. Some say the excitement for Trump was fueled by voter unease about some of the most progressive ideas debated during the Democratic presidential primaries, including the Medicare for All health plan and the Green New Deal to combat climate change.
As demonstrations over institutional racism swept the country, many Democrats also struggled to respond to false attacks by Republicans who supported them to « defuse » the police. Voters saw Republican riot ads for months, with narrators threatening Democrats as anti-police, often with little response.
« The police defuse thing didn’t help at all, » said James Carville, a Democratic strategist, an architect of Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Rep. Washington co-chair Pramila Jayapal, co-chair of the Progressive Congressional Caucus, countered that there is no way forward for Democrats unless they address key challenges in American life, including systemic racism and inequality. She called on the party to set up a national truth commission to investigate racism in the US. S.. . along with a group to study reparations.
“Running away from these things will never work. We actually have to do brave things, brave things, ”said Jayapal. “Anyone who believes that elected officials at any level, particularly at the congressional level, can or should control the messages, demands and urgency of movements erupting for justice on the streets is really mistaken about their power and role. ”
Still, Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat from the Texas-Mexico border town of Laredo, said the combination of proposals that his party defied police, advocated socialized medicine, and sacrificed jobs in key industries like oil and gas to fight climate change merged to a doomed narrative candidate.
« The progressives, I admire their passion, their commitment, their energy, » said Cuellar, who hit back a main opponent from the left. « Nobody tries to silence someone. We’re just saying that there will be different thoughts on how to do things within the Democratic Party. ”
Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader, one of the house’s more conservative Democrats, was more blunt. He called the debate about defusing the police « toxic. ”
« Our national brand, with the exception of the President-elect, is in a very difficult state, » said Schrader.
The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super-PAC that spent $ 140 million promoting Republican House candidates for general election, claimed it managed to wage broader attacks on Democrats on issues like defusing the police on individuals Tailoring races.
For example, in Rose’s Staten Island district, the ads focused on his support for demonstrations against systemic racism insulting local police.
To defeat Democratic challenger Christina Finello in suburban Bucks County, Pennsylvania, an ad featured an ad speaking about how cuts in police funding could jeopardize her ability to « pick up the phone and to know that a cop might be there shortly. ”
« We had to get out of the national charged language and do so about people’s individual lives and how that would affect them, » said CLF President Dan Conston, who also praised the GOP’s efforts to attract more women and people of color People to recruit are running.
Ads criticizing the Green New Deal warned of tax hikes in many areas, but highlighted the potential impact on the oil and gas industry in high-energy locations where Republicans were ousting Democratic House incumbents, including New Mexico and Oklahoma.
In contrast, the Democrats’ focus on health care proved less influential than it did in mid-2018 after the Republicans unsuccessfully sought repeal of the Affordable Care Act of 2010. According to the AP’s VoteCast, a national poll of voters, the pandemic was the main concern of voters, followed closely by the economy, which favored Republicans.
Democrats had to continue to welcome major reforms and « opposition countermeasures, » said Wendell Potter, a former health industry executive who heads the progressive center for health and democracy that supports Medicare for All.
« You have to make sure people understand that what we are talking about is not close to socialism, » said Potter.
Though Democrats have a soul quest ahead of them, Jasper County’s Republican Nearmyer notes that a GOP benefit will be gone in 2022 – Trump’s name on the ballot.
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