Thoughts On The Democratic Primary Debate

I'm not a Democrat, but I find them to be incredibly frustrating at times. To me, if the Democrats can't claw back something on the state level here in Iowa (not to mention nationally) this cycle, then the future for the party looks bleak indeed. The actions of the legislature down in Des Moines only underlines the importance of the Democrats getting their act together for November- this session, kids, is why you don't give one party the keys to the whole damn place. If they can't get the Governorship, it'd be great to claw back at least a chamber of the legislature just to limit the damage at very least.

I want sensible governance. Keep the financial house in order. Keep the kids in school Monday-Friday and make sure no bridges fall down. Governance as political warfare? That I won't reward and that's exactly what the Republicans have delivered for the past two years. So, when I found the Democratic Primary Debate from Iowa Press online, I was all about sitting down and checking out these candidates to see if any of them is going to have a chance at winning. Here's what I came away with:

Glasson: the stuff that far left dreams are made of, she sounds great but has about as much chance of winning in November as a snowball has of surviving in the seventh circle of hell. If hell freezes over, then who the heck knows, but in a state like Iowa that loves their incumbents, I don't think hell is going to freeze over anytime soon. (Principles are nice things to have, but they don't matter that much if you don't win.)

Wilburn: solid and positive throughout the debate, the fact that he's a former Mayor of Iowa City will instantly make him persona non grata for a lot of people in the room. (If Glasson flying her Crimson Red Bernie Sanders flag is one way ticket to nowhere, being a former Mayor of the People's Republic of Johnson County I think is going to be too much of a hurdle for Wilburn to clear. Shouldn't be that way, but it seems like it is.) I'm honestly surprised Wilburn's campaign hasn't caught more fire though. He's not the most magnetic personality on the stage, but he's solid, has some interesting ideas and would be an interesting choice for Lt. Governor.

McGuire: A Doctor, she seems to be running for better health care and against the Medicare mess. But there doesn't appear much else there. A passionate advocate on those issues, she comes across as very one note. I don't know how far she's going to go (and looking at some Unofficial results from Statewide Conventions that Iowa Starting cooked up, it doesn't look she picked up many delegates either.)

Norris: The candidate I knew the least about turned out to be the most intriguing one on stage in many ways. He seems really passionate about building the Democratic base in rural Iowa and reaching out to rural voters- he talked about changing the culture of farming to make it more profitable and sustainable- which is an issue that should be at the center of any race for Governor in this state. If you're not serious about making agriculture better, then you're not serious about the future of this state. (Plus, he looks a lot like Norm McDonald.)

Boulton: poised and polished- perhaps a wee bit too much of the latter, he's young, energetic and provided a contrast to a lot of the candidates on stage. I get the feeling he's trying to thread the needle between Hubbell's 'bring the voters together', 'I can win in November' kind of candidate and Glasson's, 'I'm the real Progressive here' candidacy. It's a tricky balancing act, but I feel like he pulled it off.

Hubbell: Has the money (and took some heat for being the rich guy in the room) and he's been running ads consistently for a while now. I like that he's focused on the bigger picture: the utter fiscal mismanagement of the state, the wasteful tax giveaways and most importantly, winning in November.

I think it's going to come down to Hubbell and Boulton in the end and I'm honestly not sure who's going to win here. RCP has some polling that was done all the way back in January that has Hubbell and Boulton as the best candidates on paper trailing Reynolds by 5 points and 4 points respectively. McGuire, Glasson and Norris all trail by double digits. (This suggests that Hubbell has a good lead.) I have no idea who's going to win, but hopefully voters choose wisely. We'll see where everything is come the fall.


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