Alexandra Dermody is a Davenport based Gen Z activist, nonprofit director, and small business owner.
In the aftermath of the 2022 midterms, and with the 2024 elections fast approaching, the Iowa Democratic Party finds itself at a crucial juncture. With a series of losses in the state legislature and down-ballot offices, and a lack of diverse candidates, the party must address its shortcomings to regain momentum and build a more inclusive and modern base.
I’ll delve into the current and future prospects of the Iowa Democratic Party from my own perspective as a community organizer and activist, emphasizing the need for diversity, youth engagement, and policy alignment to revitalize its influence and win key seats.
Who needs to be reached: To rejuvenate the party and build a stronger future, it is crucial for the Iowa Democratic Party to proactively reach out to underrepresented demographics. Gen Z and Millennials, women, BIPOC individuals, and LGBTQ+ people are dynamic and diverse segments of the population, offering unique perspectives and untapped potential.
Engaging with those demographics not only ensures fair representation but also brings fresh ideas, innovation, and an understanding of the challenges faced by marginalized communities. It is through their involvement that the party can truly embrace inclusivity and pave the way for progressive change.
Benefits of tapping into and engaging with these demographics: Actively involving Gen Z and Millennials, women, BIPOC individuals, and LGBTQ+ people in the Iowa Democratic Party brings numerous benefits. These groups bring a wealth of diverse experiences and perspectives, enriching the party's platform and policies. By embracing their voices, the party can better understand and address the needs of a wider range of constituents.
Furthermore, real-world success stories of LGBTQ+ candidates and young trailblazers winning elections serve as powerful examples of the impact and potential of embracing diversity in leadership. By inspiring others and breaking down barriers, these success stories encourage individuals from these communities to step up, run for office, and contribute to the party's growth.
Who not to recruit: Recognizing the limitations of an aging and non-diverse candidate pool is crucial for the Iowa Democratic Party. While experience is valuable, it is equally important to recruit candidates who can connect with and represent the diverse perspectives of the electorate. Voters often seek representatives who reflect their values and lived experiences.
By actively recruiting young people and candidates from marginalized groups, the party can bridge the gap and effectively resonate with the population at large. These candidates bring a fresh perspective, understanding, and authenticity that can contribute to the party's success and strengthen its relationship with voters.
Potential future prospects: If the Iowa Democratic Party prioritizes recruiting and supporting young, LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and female candidates, it has the potential to transform its electoral prospects. A more diverse candidate pool can establish a stronger connection with voters, as it represents and understands the experiences of a broader range of constituents.
By embracing these candidates, the party not only enhances its platform but also fosters a more inclusive and representative democracy. The potential for increased electoral success, community engagement, and progressive change is significant when the party taps into the talents and perspectives of these underrepresented groups.
The policy issues that matter: Regaining popular support requires the Iowa Democratic Party to prioritize policy issues that resonate with the electorate. By focusing on widely popular progressive issues, such as ensuring accessible health care, affordable education, cannabis legalization, racial justice, reproductive rights, protections for gender identity and sexual orientation, climate action, and economic equity, the party can rally support from a broad cross-section of Iowans.
Aligning the party's agenda with the needs and aspirations of the population at large is key to winning hearts and minds. By championing these issues, the party can demonstrate its commitment to addressing the pressing concerns of everyday Iowans and pave the way for a more prosperous and equitable future.
Overcoming challenges and barriers: Running diverse and young candidates for office may face various challenges, including financial constraints and perceived misconceptions. Overcoming these obstacles requires concerted efforts. It involves debunking stereotypes and showcasing the value and potential these candidates bring to the table.
Additionally, forging policies that specifically address the concerns of Iowans, involving grassroots initiatives, and fostering community support are essential steps in breaking down barriers to diversity and inclusion. By addressing these challenges head-on, the party can create an environment that embraces and empowers candidates from all backgrounds, ensuring a more inclusive and representative political landscape.
The future success of the Iowa Democratic Party hinges on our unwavering commitment to acknowledging our shortcomings and actively striving for change. It is imperative that we embrace the power of diversity, engage with underrepresented demographics, prioritize popular policy issues, and overcome barriers that stand in our way.
Now is the time to seize this opportunity and embark on a transformative journey to build a more inclusive, representative, and forward-thinking Democratic Party in Iowa. Our sense of urgency is fueled by the need to regain key seats in the 2024 elections and restore a sense of sanity, democracy, and normalcy. Together, we will stand against the loud minority of far-right extremists who have taken control of our state, and we will pave the way for a brighter future where the voices of all Iowans are heard and respected.