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DNC chairman Tom Perez sees 2020 election as 'moral fork in the road'

Democratic Party leader addresses Iowans at Des Moines fundraiser

DES MOINES — The national leader of the Democratic Party told Iowans on Friday that the nation stands at “a moral fork in the road,” and it will take a united party supporting whoever emerges as the 2020 presidential nominee to defeat Republican Donald Trump.

“We have roughly a year until the most important election of our lifetime and roughly 100 days until the most important Iowa caucus of our lifetime,” said Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez, who came to Iowa to address about 13,500 party activists at the Liberty & Justice Celebration fundraiser.

“Our unity is our greatest strength, and frankly it is Donald Trump’s worst fear,” Perez said in addressing the cheering rank-and-file Democrats assembled in the Wells Fargo Arena. “We’re one family, one team, and we have one year to defeat the worst president in the history of our country.”

Perez said he expects a record turnout in the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses, and he refuted contentions that the aggressive televised debate schedule for the 17 Democrats — what he called the party’s “deep bench” — competing for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination has diminished the impact of early states like Iowa.

The DNC chairman said Iowa will be a key battleground state — along with other industrial Midwest states — in his party’s path to 270 electoral votes that will be needed to secure the presidency in November 2020 and work with Congress to enact priorities Senate Republicans are refusing to take up.

Perez said “nothing less than the fate of our democracy is at stake” as Democrats in the U.S. House have opened an impeachment investigation into Trump. He added that none of the nation’s problems will get fixed until “we fix our democracy” by fulfilling a constitutional obligation to “follow the facts where the facts will lead us.”

The DNC leader said Trump came to Iowa in 2016 and promised to make health care better and cheaper and to improve the plight of farmers but had “done just the opposite.”

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“Democrats believe that everybody should have access to the American dream and that we should have the backs of people, not have a knife in their backs,” he said.

Comments: (515) 243-7220; rod.boshart@thegazette.com

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