CEDAR RAPIDS — Winning control of the U.S. House would “cut our time in hell by half,” said U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, who is in Iowa to help energize Democrats and raise money for candidates in the 2018 elections.
And winning control of the House could be as simple as Democrats winning in Iowa, the Iowa native now serving a northern California congressional district said during a visit Saturday to Cedar Rapids.
“If we win in Iowa, we’ll win Congress,” he predicted. “If we lose Iowa, we’ll lose Congress. It’s as simple as that.”
To win the midterm elections and seize the House majority, Swalwell said Democrats have to be ready to “go bold, be bold, go big.”
It’s not just being right on the issues, but understanding “what the voters told us in 2016.”
“We can dismiss who they sent in 2016, but we can’t dismiss why they sent them,” the 37-year-old Sac City native said before speaking to the Linn County Phoenix Club that raises money for local Democratic candidates. He also met with Muscatine County Democrats and students at the Harkin Institute, and appeared at the College and Young Democrats of Iowa convention.
Many voters were tired of politics as usual and felt disconnected from they saw at the top of the economy. The stock market may be doing well, unemployment may be at all-time lows.
“But that doesn’t mean a lot to them if their paychecks aren’t growing,” he said. “They want opportunity extended to them, they want investment in their kids’ education, a tax code that help companies do better with a profit-sharing model that everyone will benefit.”
It’s also important that many voters want Congress to be a check on President Donald Trump “where right now he is careening across the country with no stop sign or cop on the beat,” the son of the former Algona police chief said.
One bold idea Swalwell talked about is health care for all. He said that despite the divisions that persist about the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — Americans are ready for a public health care plan that covers everyone.
“It takes leadership. We have to be straightforward and honest that we’re all going to pay, but we will cover everyone, so ultimately we will pay less,’ he said.
It’s also time for Democrats to lead on responsible gun control, Swalwell said. He said students from Parkland, Fla., have reframed the debate by arguing “their right to live is supreme to any other right afforded to us.”
“In the past, we’ve said that the Second Amendment is equal to protecting lives,” Swalwell said. “They’ve broken that equivalence.”
Swalwell contends the November election largely will be a referendum on Trump and the best way to constrain an “out-of-control” president. The best thing that could happen for the country would be Democrats winning control and showing they can get things done despite the president’s changing positions.
The best thing for the Democratic Party, he said, would be “a crowded 2020 primary with a lot of new voices,” including his.
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“Of course, that’s something I would, consider,” Swalwell said about running for his party’s nomination. “Our country needs help. It needs new energy and new ideas.”
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