ICYMI: Kaufmann: Iowa Caucuses Should Go First For Both Parties In 2024
The Des Moines Register | April 24, 2022
"Ever since I became the chair of the Republican Party of Iowa, I have promised to fight with everything I have to save Iowa’s First-in-the-Nation status. After attending the RNC meeting, I can report back from Memphis, Tennessee, that the Republican Party of Iowa will once again kick off the nomination calendar with our Iowa Caucus.
This has not been an easy road. After the Democratic National Committee did everything they could to obstruct the Iowa Democratic Party’s caucuses, coastal Democrats have begun to disparage our state. They say we are 'not representative enough,' 'not competitive enough,' and not important enough to hold such an honor. Everything they have said is wrong.
As has been the case for several years, the national Democrat Party has been led by coastal progressives, focusing on issues that matter most to those in New York and California. It’s not at all surprising that they want to skip over middle America when it comes to vital, important contests that start the nomination for who will be the next President of the United States. These Democrats believe we don’t 'get it' and that we 'live in the past.' They will truly never understand our way of life, the challenges we face, and the best way to overcome them.
Instead, they’re completely fine with bypassing the discussion altogether, snubbing the voice of millions of hardworking, middle class voices that are the backbone of this country. Make no mistake, if the DNC gets rid of the Iowa Caucus, it is a middle finger to rural, blue collar America.
It has never been Iowa’s job to pick the president – it’s our job to vet candidates, ask tough questions, and demand answers on issues that all Americans care deeply about. We work together with the other First in the Nation states to be part of a larger process, with Iowans helping winnow the field.
Everyone who has ever wanted to run for president has found a welcome audience with Iowans.
Caucus winners have been reflective of our country. Whether it’s their skin color, their status as an elected official or not, or the amount of money they have in the bank, Iowans will hear all the candidates out and ask them the same tough questions.
Candidates who come to Iowa to participate in the caucuses must talk to everyday Americans, they must answer questions and explain where they stand on important policy issues — no presidential candidate can buy Iowa simply by advertising.
Preserving the First in the Nation states ensures that anyone can be president. Now more than ever, it is important that those who want to run our country are not crowned by the establishment, but selected by the grassroots of each party. This is why I have been fighting so hard to save the caucuses, but it didn’t just happen overnight.
While the Republican Party of Iowa’s work is done, it’s not over for the Iowa Democratic Party.
For years, it’s been the custom for the state party chairs to stand arm-in-arm to defend the Iowa caucus. In the strongest terms possible, I will not waiver from that commitment. I believe that Ross Wilburn, Scott Brennan, and other Iowa Democratic Party leaders will prevail. Iowa, and America, are stronger when Iowa goes first, and goes together. It allows neighbors to debate the intricacies of their party and the other and allows democracy to play out in its most basic form.
Now that Republicans have set their calendar and the Democrats near setting theirs, the time for sitting on the sideline is over. Prominent leaders of both parties must stand up and make their voices heard at the national level. I’m calling on Cindy Axne, Tom Vilsack, Tom Harkin, Rob Sand, Abby Finkenauer, and others to stand up today, and be vocal about keeping Iowa first.
The time for them to engage is now, Iowans cannot wait any longer."
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