When To Swallow The Red Pill

RAGBRAI riders stopped at the Norwalk Christian Church for pie. Photo Credit – Trish Nelson

Trish Nelson will be returning to the editor’s desk next week.

Among things she did while on hiatus was ride a couple days of RAGBRAI, posting this photograph of pies behind empty church pews. The image says something more although I’m at a loss to put words to it. It can speak for itself.

Time for me to go on hiatus for a while as well.

Tomorrow I return to the apple orchard where I work in the sales barn doing whatever is needed for the season. If I’m lucky, I’ll have great conversations with some of the thousands of guests who show up on a weekend. If I’m extra lucky, those conversations will be about apples, gardening and farming.

We political activists need to do our best work to elect a replacement for Dave Loebsack in the Second Congressional District and a U.S. Senator to make Joni Ernst a one-term senator. We also need to retain the hard-won seats of Cindy Axne in the third district and Abby Finkenauer in the first. If we have a candidate in the fourth district, there’s work to be done there as well. Those campaigns will have to wait until after the presidential preference in February, because a person can land only one plane at a time. I favor Rita Hart in the second district and Theresa Greenfield for U.S. Senate. There are no clinkers among those running in the primary.

As far as the Iowa caucus goes, I’m in the same boat as a lot of readers. I want to pick a candidate for president to work with after Labor Day. If I can’t decide which one by then, I may go to caucus uncommitted and join a group that needs one more person to be viable.

I expect to run our precinct caucus (because of a lack of volunteers) and don’t want to get into the unseemly discussions we had during the vote count in 2008. Being uncommitted would be a positive in that regard.

Democrats can’t afford to have winners and losers this cycle, so the pre-caucus dynamic is different from 2008 when there were 8-10 candidates for president and everyone worked hard for their guy or gal to be the one. The only thing that remains the same this cycle is Mike Gravel is running again (Update: The afternoon of the day this was posted, Gravel suspended his presidential campaign).

Someone asked me who were my top three potential presidential candidates. I had to think, but came up with this answer:

Anyone other than Biden, Sanders, Warren and Harris needs a breakthrough by Labor Day (maybe Thanksgiving) to ouster these four poll leaders. Polls and second choices will drive the presidential preference Feb. 3.

If not this week, then soon, the less than one percenters will hopefully have made their point and gracefully exited the race to work on other Democratic priorities. I’m very sorry Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is in this group. She couldn’t get over the Franken blow back among Democrats I know and lost important donors. She is uncompromising on women’s rights.

Look at it this way. Once I figure out what/who I’m supporting I’ll swallow the red pill and follow the rabbit hole where it leads. With the primary in June, there’s plenty of time to work on Rita Hart and Theresa Greenfield after caucus.

Or look at it another way. If Warren had run in 2016, I would have worked hard to make her the nominee. I’m satisfied she’s not too old today. There’s no one else left in the top 4 besides Kamala Harris. I’m less than confident a woman can get elected in 2020. I don’t like most of the men.

So there’s my indecision. If I can’t decide by Labor Day I may not declare and throw my one preference to which ever group could be viable with it, except maybe Sanders.

The most important endgame is coming together once we have a nominee. Keeping the red pill in a waterproof vial for now.

Hope readers enjoy the rest of summer. Thanks for the clicks during the last five weeks.

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