CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — They called for health care for all and better schools, living wages, free community college and job training, retirement security, infrastructure and confronting climate change.
But most of all, 10 Democratic presidential hopefuls Sunday afternoon called for making Donald Trump a one-term president.
Despite the heat at the outdoor Progress Iowa’s fifth annual Corn Feed in the NewBo District of Cedar Rapids, organizers said there were no medical emergencies.
“It shows we’re really committed, right?” former Maryland Rep. John Delaney joked.
Like others in the “extraordinary, qualified, diverse, talented field of approximately 3,000 Democratic candidates for president,” South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg said there is broad agreement that “America cannot withstand four more years of this president.”
Buttigieg and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand posited they offer Democrats the best chance of defeating Trump because they present the strongest contrasts to him.
Gillibrand talked about her “Trump Broken Promises” bus tour and her plans for taking down big pharmaceutical companies and lowering drug prices and fixing the “gun epidemic.” She won cheers for saying she would stop Trump’s “all-out assault” on women’s reproductive rights.
“Just imagine what we could achieve with a working mom in the White House instead of a misogynist,” she said, adding that Trump’s “Achilles’ heel” would be a female opponent.
Buttigieg said that historically “the American people tend to choose the opposite of whatever they just had.”
“I would argue that it doesn’t get more opposite from the current president of the United States than a laid back, intellectual, gay, veteran, millennial mayor,” said Buttigieg, the only speaker to get a stranding ovation from a sizable part of the crowd.
It won’t be easy, according to retired political science professor Caroline King of Ankeny.
“They called Reagan the ‘Teflon president’ and nothing stuck to Bill Clinton,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what Trump says, he just keeps going.”
Not if U.S. House Democrats follow Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton’s call for impeachment.
If Trump was a president was bad “in traditional ways, the nation could afford to remove him in traditional ways,” Moulton said. “But he’s a criminal and a fraud.”
Others may be worried that a move for impeachment might backfire and cost Democrats the gains they made in 2018, Moulton said. If the House sends an impeachment case to the Senate to try, “I’m just fine with the American people getting to see Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is up for election in 2020, covering for a criminal while we stand up or justice.”
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s supporters’ green T-shirts and signs were more evident than the breeze she took responsibility for when she took the stage on the NewBo City Market lawn. Her supporters cheered and laughed throughout her speech as she talked about Trump and “all of the promises he’s broken.”
“Right now, we got a guy in the White House that doesn’t know how to tell the truth. He doesn’t know how to keep promises,” she said.
She promised to make prescription drugs as cheap as they are in Canada, and joked she could see the cheaper prices in Canada from her Minnesota porch.
You have free articles remaining.
Like several of the candidates, Klobuchar made a passing reference to Trump’s deportation raids that began Sunday.
Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet called for a “new, progressive era in this country.” He talked about the founders of America, and said people like Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King Jr., too, should be considered founders for the work they did for equality. And the Corn Feed crowd should also be considered founders, he said, because everyone has a responsibility to make change.
But to make change, Bennet said, the country needs to change the politics that have been in the government for years. Trump, he added, “is a symptom of our problems, not the essential cause of our problems.”
Trump, according to author-lecturer Marianne Williamson, is a “symptom, an opportunistic infection (resulting from) a compromised societal immune system.”
“If you think by just electing somebody who is the better version of the same old, same old — who, by the way, will not beat Donald Trump — we are continuing to conspire with the erosion of our democracy,” she said. “It is time for a great uprising of the American people. It is time for a moral and psychological and economic and social revolution in this country.”
Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan said he believes the role of the federal government is “helping ordinary people do extraordinary things.”
His platform calls for appointing a chief manufacturing officer to develop policies to make sure “things are made in the United States” so this nation, not China, dominates the solar panel, electric vehicle, battery and charging station markets.
He plans to roll out a policy to convert the food and agriculture systems to regenerative farming to put carbon in the soil and give everyone access to food.
The Republican Party of Iowa said Ryan and other Democrats were ignoring the strong agricultural economy benefiting Iowans. It warned that while buttering up Iowans, the Democratic hopefuls were “hiding their real agenda that would make corn growers say ‘Shucks.’”
“2020 Democrats will tout a rainbows and unicorns agenda, but their actual agenda would cripple Iowa’s agriculture industry,” spokesman Aaron Britt said. “The far-left’s socialist, multi-trillion dollar environmental policies, combined with their inaction on the (United States, Mexico and Canada trade agreement) would devastate Iowa corn-growers — and you can take that one to the elevator.”
Delaney kicked off the speeches by promising to be a president “who wants to restore this notion of common purpose, that we’re all actually in this together.”
He also shared his resume — an entrepreneur who was the youngest chief executive in the history of the New York Stock Exchange and created thousands of jobs — because he believes the nation needs people “who have gotten things done in their lives.”
“I’m running to do the job,” Delaney said. “What the job involves is getting real things done,” such as early childhood education, universal pre-K, improving teacher pay, free community college, living wages, universal health care, retirement security, fighting climate change and building infrastructure.
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper had the dubious honor of being the last speaker. Twelve speakers were scheduled, but Washington Gov. Jay Inslee canceled because of a flight delay and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio returned to the Big Apple due to Saturday night’s major power failure.
Hickenlooper said his successes as governor — creating police reform in Colorado 10 years before the events of Ferguson, Mo., becoming the first state to regulate methane and expanding women’s reproductive rights while reducing teenage abortion by 64 percent — could easily translate to the presidency.
Like the others, he tried to make the case for why he would be the right nominee to challenge Trump.
“We can’t control Trump who is in our way, but we can control how we respond and we can control that he is a one-term president,” Hickenlooper said.
Preventing a second Trump term was on former secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro’s mind, too. He called for making America “the smartest, healthiest, fairest, and most prosperous nation on earth.” As president, Castro said he would implement free public universities, paying teachers well and raising the minimum wage.
He concluded his speech talking about how he imagines his first day as president when an outgoing President Trump would welcome him to the White House.
He’d lean in and tell Trump “adios,” Castro said, leaving the stage to loud cheers.