The AHCA, the fourth Congressional district and how the left can learn

Matt Chapman has been holding our elected officials accountable and asking important questions about access to health care. -promoted by desmoinesdem

As health care reform has been flailing around the House and finally landed in the Senate I would like to share and hear points of view on the roadblocks the majority party is dealing with to pass the American Health Care Act.

I think it could be a teachable moment, as while the left is energized more than ever, I think we have to be prepared when we get in power. If we’re united, not only could we reverse a lot of damage that is now being done, we could use this opportunity after the census to hold on to power for a while. The teeter-totter effect of parties in power needs to be stopped.

In a meeting with Indivisible leaders in central Iowa, U.S. Representative David Young pretty much summed it up for us. The House Freedom Caucus (of more conservative Republicans) wanted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, period. The Tuesday Group (of more moderate Republicans) were afraid of pre-existing conditions and the repealing of the Medicaid expansion funding. All the rest in the middle had various concerns. With three levers of power, it still has taken five months and we still are waiting to see what the Senate does with health care because of a inability to compromise.

For the House, the solution was to throw the Medicaid expansion under the bus by cutting $880 billion out of funding. The idea was to cut this first and then funnel it through tax reform to the one percent along with another $600 billion in tax breaks.

David Young took the heat for this and it will cost him at the polls because he signed on to do a reverse Robin Hood and take from the poor and give to the rich. That is the struggle that is on the right. They are now the dog that caught the car and after barking at it for six years and they either have to run away with their tail between their legs or take a bite out of that bumper.

On the left the debate is who can govern in a way that will lift up the the lower and middle classes and make the one percent pay their dues.

Who is for community college being free and who is for free education at all levels.

Who is for a fifteen dollar an hour minimum wage and who is for twelve. How much is a living wage for different politicians.

What form of health care for all do you support? Single payer? Medicare for all? A hybrid?

What are your environmental policies on clean air, water and energy?

Compare this with what Republicans are doing with their majorities at both the state and federal level in 2017, and all options seem pretty damn good.

My point is that the dismissal of the only candidate to run against a racist xenophobe as a good thing is counter-intuitive. To step up to the plate a second time and take on an entrenched troll in his own backyard takes guts. I respect Kim Weaver for that, as well as her reasons for leaving the race. If I could talk her into getting back in I would.

I looked at what previous polls from 2016 and 2014 and the difference in participating voters in the fourth Congressional district. Keep in mind the turnout the week after the inauguration at the Women’s March. It was the largest protest march in history. It was an answer to the injustice that was sure to come. The only thing stopping that injustice is the inability to compromise in the house and a sensitive orange troll in the white house.

2016
Steve King Incumbent 61.2% 226,719
Kim Weaver 38.6% 142,993
Write-in 0.1% 547
Total Votes 370,259
Active D 124,206
Active R 193,308
Active no affiliation 171,592
Total Votes 370,259
Total Active voters 489,543
Active not voting 125,347.

So total all the D’s and R’s and you get 318,014 active voters. Add the non affiliated (Independent) voters and the total is 489,543. Then subtract the total votes cast (370,259) from all active voters on the roll for the year (489,543) and a total of registered active voters for the year that did not participate is 125,347.

2014 (off year )
Steve King Incumbent 61.6% 169,834
Jim Mowrer 38.3% 105,504
Write-in Other 0.1% 295
Total Votes 275,633
Active D 123,213
Active R 179,810
Active no affiliation 174,799
Total active 477,822
Minus votes cast 275,633
Eligible votes not cast 202,189

Fifteen percent more eligible voters stayed out of the mid-term in 2014 than voted for the winner. This is the best chance to unseat him. Redistricting skews the data before 2014 as Districts 4 and 5 merged with each other as well as the other three districts losing a seat in congress due to the 2010 census.

As 2016 was a year when bigotry was normalized all the way to the highest office in the country if not the world a lot of left-leaning moderates as well as many progressives didn’t turn out. Either disgust, apathy or the general view that there was no way we would get the outcome that happened were factors. And to be frank, the bigots among us enjoyed expressing their views. They flocked to the polls excited to vote for one of their own.

So an off-year election may be the best chance to get the King out of Washington and back to his throne at home. I think the wake up call has been heard as many folks, myself included who never participated at this level are energized.

I think primaries are a good test for candidates. It prepares them for what is in store. But if we don’t want the Kings or Blums of the world to run unopposed, then we need to be able to compromise and accept our candidates, warts and all.

Now I am older and my time is not as long as younger folks. I also have watched enough poverty in my life that I want some relief for these people sooner not later. Some of them don’t have the luxury of time. This puts me in the mind that compromise is not a bad word. Look at the comparison of policies on the left and the right. Then look at the policy differences just on the left. As David Young said about Trump’s taxes, “it’s a no brainer.”

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