sunny.png
Tuesday July 14th, 2020 6:50PM

Democrats swarm industrial Iowa to prove they can beat Trump

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa (AP) — Since their surprise loss to Donald Trump in 2016, Democrats have struggled with how to regain territory that long supported the party before suddenly flipping to Republicans. Their answer could lie with voters like Martie Boyd.

The 71-year-old retired insurance worker is a lifelong Republican who supported Trump for president in 2016 but says she won't do it again. Even better for Democrats, she lives in Danville, a tiny town in Des Moines County, one of 31 Iowa counties that backed Barack Obama in 2012 before switching to Trump.

“I wish I hadn't wasted my vote," Boyd said Tuesday after watching Pete Buttigieg speak at Iowa Wesleyan University. “Not this time. I'm definitely caucusing for a Democrat and voting for one in the fall.”

As Buttigieg campaigned throughout this swath of southeast Iowa, voters like Boyd were at the front of his mind. He and his fellow Democratic candidates are hoping to lure them not just to win the upcoming Iowa caucuses but to prove to voters in the states that follow that they have the unique ability to win in places that shifted from the Democrat Obama to the Republican Trump.

“I’m not only meeting fellow Democrats who have been working hard for that day here, but independents who can’t wait for that day and an awful lot of what I like to call future former Republicans who are more than welcome to join us,” Buttigieg said at Iowa Wesleyan.

Iowa is home to more counties that pivoted from Obama to Trump than any other state. And over the past month alone, White House hopefuls have made more than a dozen stops in these counties to prove they're serious about defeating Trump.

“The No. 1 issue on caucus-goers' minds is who is the best candidate to take on Trump, and campaigning in these counties that switched from Obama to Trump is a good way to show that you're that candidate,” said Jeff Link, who advised Obama’s successful 2008 Iowa campaign.

The vast majority of these counties are in eastern Iowa and follow a pattern concentrated throughout the upper Midwest, including southeast Minnesota, southwest Wisconsin and northwest Illinois. These regions cover either once-thriving industrial river counties or those whose economies fed and depended on them.

In Iowa, they hug the Mississippi River beginning north of Dubuque County and wind southward to include once-robust industrial river hubs where the big equipment manufacturing that fueled the economy has dwindled with the population. The ensuing anxiety has been a major driver of the partisan shift, according to Norm Sterzenbach, a veteran Iowa strategist who is advising Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s campaign in the state.

“There's a changing of demographics in some of these counties, there's a decline in population, there's a loss in the manufacturing sector, the growing income disparity between blue-collar workers and CEOs and executives — so a number of those things led to voters feeling frustrated and wanting change,” he said.

But part of the problem, Sterzenbach said, was that the party took many of these ancestral Democratic areas for granted. “As Democrats, we haven’t done a great job at communicating our message to these voters in a way that shows that we understand what they're going through,” he said.

That’s what Buttigieg was aiming to do with his latest Iowa campaign swing. which focused entirely on the state’s 2nd Congressional District. Ten of Iowa’s 31 pivot counties are clustered in the district, and the opportunity for candidates campaigning in the region is twofold: The 2nd District accounts for a little under one-sixth of the overall delegates awarded on caucus night.

Dave Loebsack, a Democrat who represents Iowa's 2nd Congressional District, has endorsed Buttigieg and introduced him across Iowa this week. He noted the possible general election advantage of campaigning across the 2nd District, where he says Democrats have a 20,000-voter registration advantage. He argued that by visiting these struggling cities during the caucus campaign, which offers disproportionate attention than a general election campaign, some Trump-voting Democrats can be brought back into the fold.

“This is a part of the state, just like parts of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, where a number of Democrats, far too many, became disaffected and voted for Trump,” Loebsack said. “And I think there’s some chance to get some of them back.”

Beyond Buttigieg, rivals Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders have also swung through these counties in recent weeks, making the similar case that they're the most electable candidate in a general election.

Klobuchar spent part of the weekend in Clinton County, which went from supporting Obama by nearly 23 percentage points to backing Trump by 5 points. She touted the county as a place where Democrats can “make up ground,” and emphasized the need for Democrats to stay “focused on an optimistic economic agenda for this country.”

In a pitch to potential swing voters, Klobuchar also downplayed policy differences between the two parties.

“When you look at this election, for some people who may not agree with everything we’ve said, it’s a patriotism check for them, it’s a decency check, it’s a values check,” she said.

___

Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”

___

This story has been corrected to show Dave Loebsack is a Democrat who represents Iowa's 2nd Congressional District, not a Democratic state representative.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, AP Elections - Political Conventions, AP Elections - Campaigns
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Democrats swarm industrial Iowa to prove they can beat Trump
Democratic White House hopefuls are campaigning in the more than two dozen Iowa counties that went from supporting Barack Obama to Donald Trump in 2016
12:25AM ( 15 minutes ago )
Cases of viral respiratory illness rise sharply in China
Chinese health authorities are urging people in the city of Wuhan to avoid crowds and public gatherings after warning that a new viral illness infecting hundreds of people in the country and causing at least nine deaths could spread further
12:19AM ( 21 minutes ago )
Neighbor wanted Hawaii cop killing suspect evicted years ago
Court documents say a neighbor of a handyman suspected of stabbing a woman and killing two Hawaii police officers wanted him evicted since at least 2014
12:13AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Republicans reject subpoenas as impeachment debate goes on
The Senate is going late into the night as it considers fine-tuning the rules for President Donald Trump’s trial on two articles of impeachment
11:16PM ( 1 hour ago )
Dispute over rules erupts on impeachment's first full day
A rancorous dispute over rules marked the first full day of President Donald Trump's impeachment trial
11:14PM ( 1 hour ago )
Stay awake: Senators struggle to stay focused on impeachment
Some senators are struggling to pay attention to President Donald Trump's impeachment trial
10:22PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Biden widens Black Caucus support after Harris, Booker exits
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden continued to run up his advantage among black political leaders Tuesday
6:35PM ( 6 hours ago )
Planned Parenthood endorses challenger to Sen. Susan Collins
Planned Parenthood has snubbed Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine by endorsing her Democratic opponent Sara Gideon in their Senate race
5:47PM ( 6 hours ago )
Democratic candidates vow unity. But conflict escalates.
Less than two weeks before the first voting contest of the 2020 primary season, virtually every Democratic presidential contender is trying to rally their supporters behind a decidedly optimistic theme: unity
5:43PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Elections
The Latest: Swiss questioned Russian suspects before Davos
Swiss police say two Russians who were reportedly checked as suspected spies in the town of Davos months ago were released without any charges
1:29PM ( 11 hours ago )
Democrats decry McConnell's impeachment rules as 'cover-up'
President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial quickly burst into a partisan fight Tuesday as proceedings began unfolding at the Capitol
1:29PM ( 11 hours ago )
The Latest: Trump speech seen as message to US voter
Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark says U.S. President Trump's address to the World Economic Forum was “a domestic speech” partly aimed to rise above the buzz over his impeachment trial
12:43PM ( 11 hours ago )
General Election News
The Latest: Chinese vice-premier defends globalization
China vice-premier Han Zheng launched a staunch defense of economic globalization and said it would not follow the “protectionist and unilateral” leads of other countries
9:15AM ( 15 hours ago )
Impeachment trial to begin with rules fight, long days
President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial is set to unfold at the Capitol in a contentious proceeding to render judgment on his actions
4:12AM ( 20 hours ago )
Impeachment trial to begins with rules fight, long days
President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial is set to unfold at the Capitol in a contentious proceeding to render judgment on his actions
2:03AM ( 22 hours ago )
General Presidential Election News
2020 Watch: Will impeachment change the primary?
With voting to begin in just two weeks, the sprint to the Iowa caucuses is unmistakably complicated by the beginning of President Donald Trump's historic impeachment trial in the Senate
6:34AM ( 1 day ago )
Election 2020: The unexpected durability of Biden, Sanders
Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are proving to be two of the most durable candidates in the Democratic presidential primary
12:46AM ( 1 day ago )
Democrats navigate sensitive gender politics as voting nears
Democratic presidential candidates spent the weekend grappling with how to address questions surrounding sexism and gender bias as they sought to balance support for women against concerns of a political blowback
9:25PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Elections - Political Conventions
King Day in South Carolina draws 2020 presidential hopefuls
Democratic presidential contenders are celebrating the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and his legacy in South Carolina, Iowa and elsewhere
10:00AM ( 1 day ago )
King Day in South Carolina draws 2020 presidential hopefuls
Presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have been seated together at a Baptist church in South Carolina for prayer services on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and have shared a handshake
9:22AM ( 1 day ago )
Bloomberg offers plan to tackle racial economic inequality
Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg made a a pitch to African-American voters in the nation's heartland on Sunday
5:53PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Elections - Campaigns
Cases of viral respiratory illness rise sharply in China
Chinese health authorities are urging people in the city of Wuhan to avoid crowds and public gatherings after warning that a new viral illness infecting hundreds of people in the country and causing at least nine deaths could spread further
12:19AM ( 21 minutes ago )
Neighbor wanted Hawaii cop killing suspect evicted years ago
Court documents say a neighbor of a handyman suspected of stabbing a woman and killing two Hawaii police officers wanted him evicted since at least 2014
12:13AM ( 26 minutes ago )
China urges avoiding crowds with sharp rise in viral illness
Chinese health authorities are urging people to avoid crowds and public gatherings after warning that a new viral illness infecting hundreds of people and causing at least nine deaths could spread further
12:08AM ( 32 minutes ago )
Coco Gauff sets up Australian Open showdown vs. Naomi Osaka
American teenager Coco Gauff has set up another showdown against Naomi Osaka in a Grand Slam tournament
11:58PM ( 42 minutes ago )
The Latest: Coco Gauff into 3rd-round match against Osaka
Coco Gauff has beaten Sorana Cirstea 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 to set up a third-round match against defending champion Naomi Osaka at the Australian Open
11:46PM ( 54 minutes ago )