Fred Hubbell, Cathy Glasson, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton Walk Into a Bar…

When I posted the idea for the title of this blog on Facebook last week, the best response was “…and they all ordered pretty much the same thing.”

Now I know, I know, we have a lot of Balkanization in the Democratic party right now, and nearly every Democrat I know could find a way to say that joke’s not funny, or simply “How can you even say that __________ wants the same thing as __________?”  A few might wonder about how one could make a comparison between whatever combination they choose here.

I get it.  I do.

We have a fairly broad spectrum of beliefs within the membership Democratic Party, and an even broader one if you include the folks who may not be formal members but tend to vote in our general direction.  And yes, some Democrats are “too cozy with Wall Street” for the taste of some other Democrats, meanwhile some are “too naïve to know America won’t vote for Socialists” in the eyes of some others.  But here’s the thing: we all want to go in the same direction, and that is away from the course of Trump and his minions.

Bafflingly, I am still seeing and hearing arguments – started and perpetuated from all quarters, mind you – about the real reason our party lost hard in 2016.  It was Bernie. It was Jill Stein. It was the Russians. It was the Bernie bros.  It was Hillary was an awful candidate. It was she ran a terrible campaign. It was the Obama-to-Trump voters.  It was America is Racist.  It was the non-voting majority. It was corrupted voter rolls.  It was Hillary should have spent more time in Wisconsin-Ohio-Pennsylvania.

Maybe it was all these things.  Maybe it was none of them.  Political Science professors will study and analyze and prognosticate for decades on it.  I suggest we let them and get on about the business of winning in November.

In order to do that we do not need to win over anyone who currently supports the Trump regime.  There may well be a few people who voted for him who now regret it and could be persuaded, but if after witnessing the last 17 months they still support the clinical narcissist with delusions of Berlusconi who now apparently wants to play the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, then there is no point in attempting to convince those voters otherwise.  Our targets should be the independents and the non-voters.  First, though, we may need to look in our own back yard.

I made this point in this space just after the primary, but it bears repeating.  If, like me, you supported someone other than Fred Hubbell for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, that’s awesome, thank you for participating.  We all did what we were supposed to do and made calls and knocked doors and persuaded friends and coworkers and went and actually voted.

And Fred Hubbell won in a landslide.

That is how it is supposed to work.  Yes, I know he has a ton of money – both his own and the campaign fundraising kind.  It’s also true that his ideas and plans do not lean as far to the left as some may want, myself included.  But I am a Progressive.  I want progress.  And paths that lead away from the direction we are headed in presently are better than staying the course.  The Hubbell/Hart ticket clearly offers that.

What sort of experience should we be looking for in a winning Democratic ticket for governor? Do we want political experience or someone who is new to politics?  Do we want urban or rural appeal?  Business ties or labor leadership?  Private or public-sector work experience?  Wealthy business tycoon or farmer?  The thing is, this ticket offers all of that.

On the issues, do you favor universally-funded pre-K?  How about apprenticeship programs?  Do you want to end the disastrous Medicaid privatization experiment? Want to fund Planned Parenthood? Want to fund the Trust? Want to revive chapter 20?  Again, with Hubbell/Hart you get all that, and with the other folks, you get none of it.

Here in Johnson County the minimum wage is an issue near and dear to our hearts.  The Board of Supervisors raised the minimum wage in 2015, and in fact technically, we did so again just yesterday, to $10.27/hr.  But we can’t enforce it, because the Republican trifecta took that power away from us.  And Governor Reynolds would keep in that way.  Meanwhile, Mr. Hubbell hasn’t supported raising it as much as I would like, but he has supported raising the minimum wage and giving back local control on the issue, and that makes sense because it costs a lot more to live in Johnson County than it does in Adams County.

And there are plenty of other egregious new laws that need undoing, not the least of which is the unconstitutional “fetal heartbeat” bill.  Do you really want a Republican administration trying to push that law up to the Supreme Court with what is going on there now?

Much of this same sort of logic applies to all the legislative and US House races across the state.  In this race, there are no viable independent or third-party choices.  But you do have three choices.  You can vote for the Democrats, you can vote for the Republicans, or you can not vote, thus throwing your lot in with the majority – that’s the apathetic choice that says you’d be just fine with continuing with the way things are going.

I do not agree with every single stance Mr. Hubbell takes.  But then again, the only politician I’ve ever agreed with 100% is me, and even I change my mind.  We desperately need to put our differences behind us, no matter how legitimate they may be, and all start pulling in the same direction.  Then and only then will we draw the independents and the non-voters we need to get across the finish line.

(Oh, and the author of that “punchline”?  “…and they all ordered pretty much the same thing.”?  That was Pete D’Alesandro, former Iowa director for the Bernie Sanders campaign, and 3rd district congressional candidate who lost his primary.)