These Iowa Democrats will conduct the 2016 election post-mortem

On a dark day for Democrats across the country, the Iowa Democratic Party announced most members of the “Building Blocks” committee that will analyze what went wrong in the 2016 elections. Representative Dave Loebsack spearheaded the initiative and will help raise money to cover the costs of a listening tour and research including a professional focus group. Members named in a January 20 press release:

– Joe O’Hern- Campaign Manager Loebsack for Congress
– Laura Hubka- 1st District SCC Member
– Kate Revaux- 2nd District SCC Member
– Jason Frerichs- 3rd District SCC Member
– Penny Rosfjord- 4th District SCC Member
– Emily Parcell- Wildfire Consulting
– Jessica Vanden Berg- Maverick Consulting and Mail
– Erich Schmidt- Laborers International Union
– Representatives from House Truman Fund
– Representatives from State Senate Majority Fund
– Representatives from the Iowa Democratic Party Staff

Best of luck to this group. I look forward to reading their report sometime this spring. Broadly, we know that white voters without a college degree were the key to Iowa’s massive swing to Trump. But we have a lot to learn about why so many people in counties that had voted for Barack Obama twice either did not vote or voted for Trump. We need to figure out how to reconnect with voters in eastern Iowa communities that were Democratic strongholds for decades. We need to assess the party’s early GOTV strategy, which seems to have inadvertently turned out Trump voters. We also need to understand why some of our hard-working Iowa Senate incumbents and state House candidates performed so poorly in down-ballot races. Why didn’t Governor Terry Branstad’s disastrous Medicaid privatization and under-funding of education and mental health care resonate more with voters in communities of all sizes?

P.S.- I learned after publishing my latest Throwback Thursday post that Jessica Vanden Berg and Scott Ourth (an Iowa House Democrat since 2013) worked on John Judge’s campaign for the January 1999 special election to replace Patty Judge. I hope to hear their stories someday and publish an account of that race from the Democratic perspective.

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