Reclaiming Iowa from Grassley with Progressive Dr. Glenn Hurst

Obama won Iowa twice– but after Bernie embarrassed Hillary in the caucuses there, Democratic consultants have been writing the state off… at least in terms of the direction the corporate Democrats are taking the party.

Maybe it’s just too blue collar, too rural, too white, too… FDR-coalitiony? That turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy and the GOP has a tight grip on the state now.

Next year the million year old senator, Chuck Grassley is running again. Today Blue America is endorsing the progressive in the race, Dr. Glenn Hurst. Please take a look at the guest post he wrote that explains why he can win where the establishment candidate has virtually no chance at all unless the red wave suddenly turns into a blue wave.

Goal ThermometerPlease take a look at the guest post he wrote that explains why he can win where the establishment candidate has virtually no chance at all, unless the red wave suddenly turns into a blue wave.

If you agree like us, that Glenn’s energy and commitment is just what the Doctor ordered for Iowa, consider a donation to his campaign today via the Blue America Better Senate thermometer.

Reclaiming Iowa

-by Glenn Hurst

In Iowa, Democratic candidates at the top of the ballot have proven time and again how to lose in this state. We have seen a well-funded Gubernatorial campaign, the last three U.S. Senate races, and numerous Congressional races all fail. One of those congressional races was lost by my opponent, Abby Finkenauer, a career politician, who in classic Iowa-Democrat-form, is running for an even higher office fresh off her loss in a district that was rated as leaning Democratic. Her congressional campaign loss was well funded. She raised over $5M, ran as the incumbent, and outspent her opponent by $1M. She is mounting a similarly postured race, with the same lack of commitment to Democratic priorities, and is not surprisingly running 25 points behind a man whom 67% of Iowans want to see retire.

Here’s the thing, candidates in Iowa don’t lose because of money— they lose because of bad policy. The last Democrat to win the U.S. Senate race in Iowa was a bold progressive by the name of Tom Harkin. If we want to win this cycle, we need to put forward another bold progressive.
Look, we all know there is no future in Chuck Grassley. But, what we can’t let play out is Chuck Grassley winning this election and then allowing Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds to pick his successor when he retires.We must look at the facts. We know what does not inspire Iowans:

  • Candidates who lose their last race and then try to “run up” for a higher office.
  • Career politicians without a vision for both rural and urban Iowa.
  • Big-city candidates who can outspend in the primary but whose money cannot buy the win in the general election.
  • Lackluster primaries that nominate centrist candidates who cannot motivate or turnout our base.

So what do today’s Iowa Democrats want? A look at the last caucus can be telling. Bernie Sanders won the 1st, 2nd, and 4th congressional districts. Combined, he and Elizabeth Warren won a total of 24/99 counties on the first alignment and held onto 21/99 in the final alignment. These counties included all the large Iowa Democratic strongholds: Polk (Des Moines), Linn (Cedar Rapids), Johnson (Iowa City), etc.

Far from centrists, these candidates ran on Medicare for All, immigration reform, infrastructure spending, rural broadband, and universal pre-K. They were staunch supporters of climate action and addressing the wealth disparity issues that plague our economy and Iowans’ ability to thrive. They inspired turnout in counties they never imagined winning. We know how the story ends, Joe Biden clinches the nomination, and Iowa again goes for Donald Trump after twice going for Obama.

Iowans voting for Obama in one cycle, then Trump in the next, is a telling statistic. It identifies that Iowans like candidates that inspire them. They want candidates with a vision for change in a world they are desperately afraid is leaving them behind. A world where they see their farmland dying, their communities are losing population, their main street abandoned, and services are drying up. Iowans have been craving change. And Iowans are very likely to embrace the progressive change that our Democratic candidates have been too afraid to support.

The proof is in our history. The last Iowa Democrat to serve in the U.S. Senate, Senator Tom Harkin, was an author of the Americans with Disability Act. He was successful with his populist economic positions that appealed to all Iowans. In other places, we were well ahead of the rest of the country in assuring marriage equality. Iowa courts also cut down state sodomy laws 25 years ahead of the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2019 the Iowa Hemp Act passed, which allowed the growth of industrial hemp. In 2020 lowa legalized the possession and sale of consumable hemp products, including CBD. Iowa has a strong progressive vein. It just needs to be tapped by a candidate who does not begin the race by stampeding toward the center.

My campaign is running from the only lane that can rally the Democratic base and carry a message that will motivate independent voters to vote for the Democratic nominee. This fight will be for every Iowan and every American who went bankrupt just trying to survive, for those who had to ration their medication, and for those looking at their aging parents and wondering how they will be able to take care of them. 

I am a physician, advocate, and activist. I serve as a Councilman on the Minden City Council. I am the Chair of the Rural Caucus for the Iowa Democratic Party, and I served as Chair of the Third District last cycle. I am a founding member of the Indivisible movement of Iowa and Nebraska. I actively shaped the Indivisible revolution in rural Iowa by leading actions to achieve Medicare for All, raise wages, and support labor unions by fighting against collective bargaining limitations. I know Iowa, and I know how to win.

Over the next six years, we will make major decisions that will affect us for generations. We need bold progressives in Congress to tackle these issues. We must fight climate change to protect our air, water, and resources. We must overhaul our healthcare system because healthcare is a human right, not an economic privilege. And we must enact thoughtful immigration reform, which will help revitalize rural towns. I believe there is so much possibility for Iowa and particularly rural Iowa, but if we let Grassley and others protect the status quo, inequalities will grow beyond recovery.

My opponents are campaigning and fundraising solely on fear and cynicism because it benefits their war chest. But I launched this campaign to give Iowans a choice not rooted in centrist ideals or fear. Being bold on the things that matter to working-class people is how we will expand our majority in the Senate. The most pressing overdue policy we’ll fight for is personal to me as a medical provider: Medicare for All. As a medical physician and scientist, I believe I am the only person in this race that intimately understands healthcare issues in America and the actionable measures that must be taken to prepare us for a post-COVID-19 future.

The United States spends more on healthcare than any other developed country. Despite this, we rank last in life expectancy and have higher rates of infant mortality. We pay twice as much per person for healthcare than other countries like Canada, Germany, France, and Sweden, yet our outcomes are worse. It is time to stop accepting a system that works better for insurance companies than for patients. In the Senate, I’ll fight for access to every level of healthcare for everyone, no matter where you live. I’ll fight for Medicare for All so that everyone can have the care they need.

While the economy has been growing, wages have been stagnant for decades. I will fight for jobs that rebuild our communities and fight climate change by investing in clean energy technologies like wind power, solar energy, electric vehicles, and energy storage systems. In every policy, from healthcare to climate change, we can create jobs and revitalize rural America. These investments will create thousands of new jobs across Iowa. We need to restore the American Dream and ensure that hard work is rewarded with a good job.

I foresee the opportunity and need for rural America’s growth to include intelligent immigration that provides a path to citizenship for DACA recipients. We must expand opportunities and protection to all who want to come and build on the American experiment. Programs like the J1 Visa should be created to bring carpenters, plumbers, and other trades workers to our communities to work in the infrastructure jobs we will create. In turn, they can earn a path to citizenship for themselves and their families. And with union oversight, they can work at fair wages instead of nickels on the dollar and be protected from unfair employment practices.

There is momentum for change and leaders who can envision it. My vision of hope for the recovery of rural America will come true…

When healthcare is a human right.When every person has access to dental, vision, and hearing services.When those with disabilities have equitable access to all services.When we don’t have to make the choice between a medical emergency and the mortgage.When we can swim in the local recreation area.When we can eat the fish we caught in the creek.When we can all feel safe in our communities and homes.When the benefits of our labors are shared fairly, and our common good comes first.When there is equity of opportunity and prosperity no matter your race, creed, color, or code.

That is when we can truly thrive. This is what Iowans need in their next U.S. Senator. That’s why I’m the best choice for Iowa, because what we need are bold progressives, notlackluster centrists.

Thanks for always doing what you can to help make this a better world,

Howie, for the entire Blue America team


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