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National Journal reports that national “Democrats have all but written off Iowa in their political future.”

This is bad news for vulnerable Democrat Cindy Axne, who embraces the national Democrat party every chance she gets:

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NRCC Comment: “Cindy Axne has done nothing to distance herself from a national Democrat Party that is increasingly distancing itself from Iowa.” – NRCC Spokesman Mike Berg

In case you missed it…

Iowa turning into a field of nightmares for Democrats

Josh Kraushaar

National Journal

April 12, 2022

https://www.nationaljournal.com/s/717186/iowa-turning-into-a-field-of-nightmares-for-democrats/?unlock=OW9L681Z5HJ7K1EX

President Biden traveled to Iowa for the first time in his tenure on Tuesday to promote the new infrastructure law and unveil plans to tackle soaring gas prices, which include allowing ethanol-blended gasoline to be sold during the summer. The move should appeal to farmers in the corn-rich state.

But despite the president’s belated attention to the state, Democrats have all but written off Iowa in their political future. The national party is weighing plans to abandon the state’s famed first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses, even while it loses ground in pivotal congressional contests. In the latest embarrassment, the party’s leading Senate candidate, former Rep. Abby Finkenauer, was ruled ineligible for the June 7 Senate primary ballot because she didn’t gather enough eligible signatures. Her failure to qualify—if the judge’s ruling holds—all but ensures GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley will be elected to a historic eighth term.

The setback follows a string of recent high-profile Democratic blunders in the state: In 2020, the party failed to tabulate caucus results in a timely and transparent manner, becoming a national punchline at a time when trust in election administration was already growing frayed. Two years earlier, the state’s top recruit for a swing-district House seat (Theresa Greenfield) was embroiled in scandal, as her campaign manager was charged with a felony for faking signatures on her ballot petition. Greenfield then became the party’s much-touted 2020 Senate nominee, but she ended up losing to Sen. Joni Ernst by 7 points, despite expectations that the race would be winnable.

The party’s bad run of luck in Iowa may have begun in 2014 when then-first lady Michelle Obama mispronounced the name of the party’s Senate nominee, former Rep. Bruce Braley, during a campaign visit. (She called him Bruce Bailey.) Iowa was seen as a critical contest that year; Democrats lost badly on their way to surrendering control of the Senate. Call it the Iowa jinx.

Since voting for President Obama twice and electing three Democrats to the state’s four-seat House delegation in 2018, Iowa has swung hard to Republicans. President Trump nearly won the state by a double-digit margin in 2020, matching his statewide victory in 2016. There’s only one Democratic member of Congress left in the state—Rep. Cindy Axne—and she’s one of the most vulnerable House Democrats nationwide this year. Republicans have now held the governorship for more than a decade.

Indeed, Iowa is emerging as a symbol of the Democratic Party’s collapse with rural and working-class white voters, a major factor behind their long-term political woes. Even if Iowa isn’t the most politically consequential state, with just six electoral votes, the party’s rural decline has made it harder to win other vote-rich Midwestern battlegrounds, like Wisconsin and Ohio. The Senate’s rural-state bias all but makes it necessary for Democrats to compete in less-populated states in order to hold a sustainable Senate majority. And a disproportionate number of battleground House races are taking place on rural turf this year, threatening to cost Democrats their majority in the lower chamber—and potentially much more.

Biden is making a push to win over rural voters by selling the infrastructure law’s benefits to small communities this week, but even the White House isn’t proclaiming that the pitch will markedly change their political fortunes. “The president is not making this trip through a political prism,” press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.

And at the same time the White House is stepping foot in Iowa, the national party already may be moving past the state’s first-in-the-nation caucuses on the presidential nominating calendar. Party leaders have long chafed at Iowa’s homogeneity, and would prefer more racially diverse states lead off the process. Between the debacle of the 2020 caucuses and the Republican trend in the state, the future of Iowa’s primacy in presidential politics is in jeopardy. With Republicans still planning to give Iowa ample attention in their own nominating process, that’s only going to expedite the evolution from Iowa’s standing as a swing state to a Republican stronghold.

The reality is that Democrats can’t simply write off a state like Iowa, even if its significance has declined over the years. Obama would never have become president if it wasn’t for his resounding upset victory in the state’s 2008 caucuses, proving that an inexperienced African American contender could win over a mostly white Midwestern electorate. When the party appealed to pocketbook issues over cultural concerns in the 2018 midterms, it ended up winning a majority of the state’s House races. Those victories should serve as a playbook for what it takes for Democrats to win on inhospitable turf.

Showing up, as former Montana Gov. Steve Bullock recently noted, is a necessary first step to making political amends. But with inflation accelerating, it’s unlikely that Biden’s sales pitch will turn around his party’s fortunes in time for the midterms. To stay competitive in Iowa, the White House can’t simply treat it as a stop in flyover country. It will need to show that it truly respects the economic interests and heartland values of rural America over the long term.

Author: Press Release

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