Living in Society

A Meeting Without Hope

Sunrise over the garden, Dec. 1, 2022.

Our county Democratic party held the first central committee meeting after the 2020 midterms on Dec. 1. I wouldn’t describe it as positive. It was a meeting without hope.

As expected, candidates for the Iowa legislature with districts contained within county boundaries won. So did the statewide Democratic candidates, yet only in Johnson County. Democrats, as has been widely reported, lost all statewide races except state auditor.

Someone on the first district central committee reported there is a concern among central committee members about a lack of leadership from the Iowa Democratic Party. Not sure if we are at “heads will roll” stage.

Locally, we raised a lot of money, yet failed to give it to candidates before the election. We had $32,000 in the bank after election day, a mortal sin. Could that have made a difference in some of the races we lost? We’ll never know.

County chair Ed Cranston said we had a goal of creating a 35,000 vote margin for Democrats in the county election. Our U.S. Senate candidate Michael Franken got a margin of 27,130. Cranston acknowledged a need to determine why we fell so far short of our goal. All we know at this point is no preference voters were neither adequately targeted, nor did they turn out in needed numbers. Numbers are being crunched, he said.

A former county party chair made a motion to move toward in-person meetings in January and February. About two dozen people participated in the Dec. 1 meeting via Zoom. The motion was voted down as committee members recognized the value of enabling as many people as possible to participate in the rebuilding process. In my one minute speech against the motion, I said it was discriminatory against disabled persons to suggest members must show up in person. The motion was a form of ableism, I said. Most of those participating via Zoom voted against the motion.

The central committee in a large county like ours has become less relevant to the political process. Whether we meet in hybrid form, in person, or virtually, no one has any good ideas about what needs to be done going forward. Emphasis on “good.”

This cycle we lacked a state coordinated campaign and didn’t know what to do with that freedom. With yesterday’s leak from the Biden team that the president was recommending early states be comprised of South Carolina, Georgia, New Hampshire, Nevada, and Michigan, Iowa will be even more isolated if that holds. That’s not all bad. It would be better if we had a plan for political life after the caucuses.

That’s right. The reality of the Iowa caucus is it’s over.

Last night the Biden administration hosted President of France Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Macron in its first state dinner. I hope no one got sick with all the fancy food. I mean, regular people don’t eat lobster and such like that. On the plus side, Biden held only one state dinner since the inauguration. Now back to work for the president and for the rest of us trying to stay relevant. The party is over.