By Scott Galindez
There are many excellent candidates in Iowa this year. I would have been proud to cast a vote for Anna Ryon or Paul Knupp. Nate Boulton, Jon Neiderbach, and John Norris would make excellent governors. While I have reservations about Heather Ryan, she deserves to be heard, not silenced by party officials. For those of you outside of Iowa, the Polk County Democrats’ events committee led by our county chair tried to exclude Ryan from speaking at a major county event because she called Congressman David Young an asshole. Luckily the central committee overturned that decision. Not only is David Young an asshole, but there are also bigger assholes in Iowa, like Steve King. Let’s not start censoring the truth. I for one want our youth to know who the assholes are.
As a party, more unites us than divides us. The 2016 presidential race was divisive. It was a fight for the soul of the party. The side I supported came up short. I was not one who ran around calling it fraud, but the system was rigged to prevent the insurgent from winning. It is what the system was designed to do. No more McGoverns.
The results left our party divided. Our nominee lost the general election to the most unpopular candidate in the history of our country. Yes, we won the popular vote, but we underperformed in the Rust Belt, paving the way to an Electoral College victory for a racist, sexist bigot.
It is time to stop pointing fingers. The Hillary Clinton wing of the party needs the Bernie Sanders wing, and Berners need the Hillary side to win elections. Candidates are lining up like never before, but the battle lines are still being drawn based on what divided us in 2016.
Luckily, we have leaders who can help us bridge that gap. I believe the way forward is with a unity ticket of Cathy Glasson for governor and Pete D’Alessandro for Congress. Pete was Bernie’s state director, while Cathy is the president of a union that backed Hillary Clinton. They are the perfect examples of how our politics are not that far apart. We essentially agree on most of the issues. What divides us is how to get there.
Don’t get me wrong: Glasson is a bold progressive who is running on a bold progressive agenda. In 2016, though, she worked closely with the Clinton camp. Pete was running the Sanders campaign. But together they can unite us.
Cathy and Pete understand that it is time to build for the future, not just the next election cycle. Nuanced positions to triangulate your opponents are the politics of the past. Voters are looking for candidates who share their ideals. They don’t want candidates to moderate their positions to get more votes.
Republicans didn’t start winning elections by running to the center; they won by exciting their base. Of course they played on people’s fears, scapegoating immigrants, women, people of color, and people’s sexual orientation.
Our job is to do the opposite. We have to reach out to people’s decency. More people think we should expand Medicare for everyone than want to repeal Obamacare. More people think America needs a raise to a living wage than think $7.25 an hour is morally correct. More people understand that diversity is our strength, not the cause of unemployment. More people believe that you should be able to love whomever you wish than think marriage should be between a woman and a man. More people are with us. We just have to get better at defining what we stand for.
Pete and Cathy get it, and they are well positioned to bring our party together and win the future.
Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador's slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice. Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counterinaugural events after George W. Bush's first stolen election. Scott Moved to Des Moines in 2015 to cover the Iowa Caucus.