On To New Hampshire, Impeachment Ends, The App Fiasco

The race for the Democratic nomination enters an important new phase this week.  Impeachment ends today, and it means that the attention of many Democrats will turn to the Presidential race.  What they will find is a wide open race, with six candidates, including Mike Bloomberg, slugging it out over what is an incredibly intense five week stretch.  In part due to the election night app fiasco, Iowa didn’t do what it often does and winnow the field.  So we have an exciting few weeks ahead with a wide open race, and two candidates – Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar – still very much alive and in contention for the nomination.  The New Hampshire debate this Friday is really going to matter – do make sure you watch.

Like many, we are disappointed in the Senate GOP’s embrace of Trump’s ongoing cover up of his crimes, and worry about where this leaves our Republic.  In a recent piece we wrote how important it was for Democrats to embrace the success of their time in the White House as the foundational argument needed to defeat Trumpism and illiberalism in the coming days.

This morning Simon offered an extensive reflection on the app fiasco, and how all of us – not just the DNC and Iowa Party – have to learn from the mistakes made.  We are in the midst of a wrenching transition to a new era of politics marked by cyber intrusions and disinformation, an era we describe as operating by Moscow Rules, and the need for a fundamental re-invention of our parties and other democratic institutions to prosper in this new era is now more urgent than ever. 

There Is Amnesty...for Unscrupulous Employers

The Agriprocessors plant in Postville, Iowa, subject of the largest raid by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), is back in the news.  Following this week's Congressional hearings to review the situation of undocumented immigrants detained during the raid, Congressman Luis Gutierrez and several members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus spent this weekend in Postville to look into the arrests and convictions of 400 plant employees and the impact of the raid on the community as a whole.  What's shocking in this case is that documents show how DHS prompted detainees to plead guilty to a criminal offense that they had not committed - ID theft - in order to "expedite" their processing, without providing legal counsel (Administrative entities, like DHS, don't have to provide counsel).  What's also shocking and demonstrates the broken immigration system is the fact that "enforcement" seems to stop at the worker - Agriprocessors has yet to be sanctioned, punished, or fined for having violated a series of laws.  Congressman Gutierrez noted the "proportional imbalance" of the raid, because Agriprocessors, which was under investigation by the State Department of Labor even before the immigration raid for wage and hour violations, child labor and physical and sexual abuse, so far, has faced no charges, while its undocumented employees have unwittingly pleaded guilty to harsher offenses, with harsher consequences.  This is yet another example of the extent to which "enforcement" is merely a talking point for this administration - until the entire immigration system is reformed, and as long as unscrupulous employers are allowed to continue violating the law without so much as a slap on the wrist, the system will continue to be broken. 

I Need a Hero

They say young people won't show up. They tell reporters young voters are just "icing on the cake." They remind candidates young people are the "elusive voter" who may come to rallies but can't be relied on to caucus. They even tell young voters to stay home because you are not "from" Iowa.

Some go on to say it's so difficult to get young people to the caucus that I might as well go searching for the Holy Grail instead. I have also been told I am chasing windmills by targeting young voters.

I ignore the naysayers and call young voters my heroes. I need you to do the same.

Young people showed up in 2004. They showed up in 2006. They will show up again on January 3rd, 2008 at caucus sites all over Iowa.

We know that if a candidate targets young people they will turnout. Young people are not any different than any other constituency group. You talk to us, we vote. You ignore us, we ignore you.

When the Young Voter PAC got word that the Iowa caucus date would be moved to when students were on winter break, we knew two things. One, we needed to help get students who may be away on break back to Iowa. Two, this would put a kink in the plans of Democratic candidates who have been targeting young people-those in school and those not in school-and that we couldn't let this stop the momentum in the campaigns of strong and historic young voter outreach.

What we didn't expect was candidates on "our team" telling young people that if they are not "from Iowa" that they should stay home. On some levels we knew why they were doing this, but no matter the political reason we knew it was wrong for Iowa and wrong for our nation to try and disenfranchise students.

We immediately wrote blog posts and press releases. We started a Facebook group to get the candidates to do the right thing by young voters and they did-all the major campaigns issued statements in support of students caucusing in Iowa. We decided we couldn't stop there.

We started a campaign telling young people to come back and caucus and asking those who are not eligible to caucus in Iowa to help support young voters by donating money to the cause.

Donors who support young voters stepped up. We bought a bunch of blog, Google and Facebook ads. We sent over 58,000 text messages and emails to registered Democrats, ages 18-35, in Iowa. We pulled together a corps of youth voting experts and young people caucusing to talk to reporters. We asked volunteers not eligible to caucus to come to Iowa so we can monitor some sites we know a lot of young people will show up at to make sure they don't get turned away at the door.

The requests for gas money and hotel rooms started to trickle in. At first the forms were a bit slow to come in, but as of today we are already up to over 150 young people coming back to caucus. The reasons for coming back to caucus are simply inspiring.

Never in my life have I felt like I have such a strong stake in the political process of America. I am an adamant supporter of my candidate and have never felt this strongly about a politician or candidate in my life. I see this election as being pivotal in American history, marking either the renewal of America in the eyes of the worlds or a continuing backward slide into ambiguity and a world of danger and fear.

Being a student at Grinnell gives me almost a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to caucus in Iowa, and as Iowa usually sets the pace for the rest of the caucuses around the nation, I wouldn't want to miss it.

I want to play a role and have an influence on these elections. Being born in Argentina and recently receiving my U.S. citizenship, I want to take advantage of the opportunities I have been given. I don't want to regret not participating and then feel guilty that my preferred candidate was not elected.

All eyes are on Iowa. Which candidate will pull it out? What will a win mean for the rest of the primary schedule? Who will help pull the winner over the finish line?

I have a different question.

Why not be a hero?

Let's show them what we got. If you are eligible to caucus, come back. Be loud and stand proud at your caucus.

If you are watching this from another state and want to help out, donate today to the Young Voter PAC.

Whether you caucus or donate, know you are representing our generation, one that will change politics-who participates and who wins.

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