I attended the Iowa Democratic Party state convention — unenthusiastically.
I went once before and remember leaving around 9 p.m. while delegates argued the platform. More the reason to stay home and work in the garden as platforms are virtually meaningless in a Democratically diverse state like Iowa.
I left home early enough to arrive in time for the veterans caucus and grab a cup of coffee at the Starbucks kiosk in HyVee Hall. I returned my credentials and vote clicker around 12:30 p.m. before “party business.”
What did I see? I’m not sure, but what you see is what you get. WYSIWYG.
The big, positive news — released before gavelling in — was gubernatorial candidate Fred Hubbell picked State Senator Rita Hart from Big Rock, Iowa as his running mate. I don’t know any Democrat who knows and doesn’t like Senator Hart. Conclusion? The nominating process was successful in picking a governor and lieutenant governor who are electable.
Party Chair Troy Price was energetic, enthusiastic and positive all rolled into one. Our delegates to the Democratic National Committee reported Iowa would likely remain the first caucus in the nation. In a new twist, Fourth Congressional District candidate J.D. “Standing Tall for All” Scholten read from a Bleeding Heartland post about how to win his district. Definitely some positives during the convention.
The convention ratified the slate of candidates and enabled them to tell delegates to knock on doors, make political phone calls, contribute money and a couple of other volunteer asks. To be honest, it got old hearing each speaker ask for the same thing. It made me wish I was out door knocking, at home writing a check, or in Johnson County walking in the pride parade with Congressman Dave Loebsack. Any of these would have been a better use of my time, and maybe was their subliminal message.
A couple things bothered me about the convention.
If memory serves, the official number of delegates seated was 781 (or was that 871?). Divide either by 594,198 active, registered Democrats as of June 1 and one can see this sliver of the party is not representative of the electorate that will choose a governor in November. We learned little about the electorate in this elite, inner-circle gathering. Maybe that’s not the point of a state convention. More likely I’m just not used to or don’t like breathing this kind of rarified air.
What matters more is transforming the party from primary to general election mode. The transmission gears ground a bit as the shift was made. The notable holdout is Cathy Glasson who has not endorsed the party’s nominee for governor. As a former candidate she owes the winner this much. Her campaign manager, Misty Rebik tweeted, “we are just getting started,” although that must be an inside joke as I’m not sure what it means. It is time to endorse and move on.
It is too early to be talking about a “blue wave.” See me after the general election. The convention served as a mile marker on the way to Nov. 6. Democrats dislike the Trump administration and the Republican Party of Iowa, but we’ll need many voters who are not Democrats to win in November. Scholten was one of a couple who mentioned this and he was reading from a blogger’s post. It served little purpose telling this group about waves of blue. They are already pumped up and well know there is plenty of work to do before a celebration.
Overall, the four and a half hours of the convention I saw was a good day for the state party. IDP needed that after the drubbing they took in 2016 under chair Andy McGuire.
There were mostly positives this morning. Now on to November!