The Democrats and Iowa

Photograph Source: Phil Roeder – CC BY 2.0

The Iowa caucuses are over, sort of, and as of this writing, results are finally being announced, incrementally. This delay is causing great amounts of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. ‘Oh, no!’, the pundits proclaim. “This shows that the Democrats are in disarray, and it’s like handing a gift to President Donald Trump, a mere nine months prior to the next presidential election.”

This writer will once again ask that these panic-stricken ‘experts’ to please just get a grip. The sky is not falling, Chicken Little. It is February; the election is in November, and regardless of what you, the self-proclaimed experts on U.S. elections, and all things political, for that matter, predict, there is no reason for such alarm. You have falsely inflated the importance of the Iowa caucuses. Now, just stop it!

Why is this writer not buying into the fear that, Iowa’s primary votes’ confusion notwithstanding, the world is about to end? Let us look at the differences between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, and see what conclusions can be drawn.

The Republican Party consists of arch-conservatives. Generally speaking, they don’t like Muslims, Mexicans or anyone who isn’t white and English speaking. They also don’t like gays, and think a woman’s place is in the home. They want to assure that women cannot control their own bodies. They believe that the government should be ruled by the Bible, not the Constitution. The fear the government they profess to love, and so they insist on carrying all kinds of guns just about everywhere: home, work, school, etc.

The Democratic Party, although hardly the ‘big tent’ it purports to be, has conservative (although not as far to the right as the mainstream Republican Party), moderate and progressive members. Generally, they are ok with any religion or no religion; they profess, at least on paper, to believe that women should be paid the same as men for the same work. The Party includes Muslims, Mexicans and gays. They believe in the separation of Church and State, walking the fine but important line that one should not infringe on the other.

As a direct result of these stark differences, the Republicans are united in their support for Donald Trump. His misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia and Islamaphobia all resonate with them. He has vowed to “Make America Great (read: White) Again”, and Republicans across the land are standing with him in achieving that horrid goal.

Democratic voters, on the other hand, have a wide array of opinions and presidential candidates that they can support. They can select former vice-president Joe Biden if they want a slightly-to-the-right, rich, elderly, white, Zionist president. Among those in the center, there is Pete Buttigieg, the gay mayor of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Moving leftward, there is Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has moved considerably to the left as her campaign has proceeded, and, of course, the self-proclaimed Socialist, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

Interspersed among these are a plethora of other candidates, ranging from the elderly (77) billionaire Michael Bloomberg, and Minnesota Senator Amy Kobuchar, to former tech company executive Andrew Yang (one of two, with Buttigeig, who is under 50 years old), and yet another billionaire, Tom Steyer. They are all at different places along the political spectrum.

Eventually, the party rank-and-file will probably coalesce around one of these candidates, but they do represent a certain amount of diversity within the party. There are three women, one homosexual and one candidate of African descent (Deval Patrick, a former executive of Bain Capital, the predatory company that Mitt Romney founded and that was helpful in his defeat for the White House in 2012). In order for that uniting to happen, there will need to be compromise: Sanders will need to soften some of his more progressive plans, or Biden will have to embrace some of them. But that is what thinking people do in order to achieve a goal: they negotiate, compromise where they can but hold fast when they can’t; discuss, debate, etc. And the Democratic Primaries are an example of that kind of necessary behavior.

Before proceeding, let this writer hasten to say that he does not see the solution to the U.S.’s problems residing in the Democratic Party. The left wing and the right wing are both part of the same ugly, capitalistic bird. In 2016 he voted for Gloria La Riva of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and he is pleased that she is running again.

No one is disputing that there was mass confusion surrounding the Iowa caucuses. What is in dispute is exactly what that confusion means. This is the first time voters were able to have a say. But this is Iowa, for Pete’s sake! Population just over 3,000,000. And the pundits are now anticipating what the voters in New Hampshire (population just under 1,500,000) will say. These two states cannot be said to be representative of the entire U.S. (population nearly 330,000,000).

So we can take what information we can from Iowa: it appears that Mayor Buttigeig won a surprise victory. To hear the ‘experts’ discuss it, one would think that it was time for all the other candidates to drop out and throw their support to him.

Please don’t. Whatever is left of electoral choice in the United States, and it’s not much, is contained in the Democratic Party (heaven help us all). Can we at least wait until the so-called Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses, where ten states with a combined population of about 83,000,000 people will have a voice in the Democratic nomination? At that point, maybe, just maybe, some of the candidates may want to consider removing themselves from future consideration, and endorsing a stronger candidate.

The only possibility of deposing King Trump in 2020 is to have a united Democratic Party, but that unity really doesn’t have to occur until the conclusion of the Democratic National Convention in the middle of July. Until then, let the candidates battle it out, detailing their plans (and possibly refraining from criticizing those of their opponents), talking to the voters, and establishing themselves somewhere in the candidate hierarchy.

Trump is dangerous for the future of the world. February of 2020 is too early to start conceding defeat to him.

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