By Marina Jaimes
On Nov. 27, roughly 3,000 attendees gathered at the Iowa Democratic Party Fall Gala to celebrate the seven gubernatorial candidates up for the party nomination in 2018. The introduction was given with a story of “passing the hat” to one another to join forces person-to-person. It included talk of the Democratic Party representing the ordinary, average person as described by the characters of the Dr. Seuss book, Bartholomew and the Oobleck.
There was no better way to represent the average Iowan than having Alec Baldwin, a man known for comedy and his pompous airplane tantrum, to deliver the keynote speech in an almost entirely red state.
Baldwin is a lifelong Democrat who remains highly critical of President Trump and the Republican Party. There is no denying his “Saturday Night Live” skits are humorous, but in a state with a majority of control going to Republicans, it is difficult to get the average Iowan to relate to a hypocritical comedian who does not have their best interests at heart. His political experience starts and ends with assuming the president’s role on a late-night comedy show and giving money to charities that align with his progressive outlook. He is neither a representation of Iowa nor a model of what an Iowa Democrat should consist of.
Also mentioned in his gala introduction was a quote from his memoir: “I dreamed of doing some kind of work that would make a difference in the lives of the people I cared about. I love my country. My way of loving it meant urging it toward being better.”
Baldwin demonstrated this kind character in a 2007 voicemail to his 11-year-old daughter. The angry voicemail was a reaction to the child not answering his phone call and concluded with, “So I’m going to let you know how I feel, about what a rude little pig you really are. You are a rude thoughtless little pig. OK?” If actions speak louder than words, Iowans can hear Baldwin’s arrogant message all the way from his $1.3 million apartment in Greenwich Village.
Perhaps Iowa Democrats should learn a lesson from their dramatic presidential-election loss of Hillary Clinton, who was backed by such celebrities as LeBron James, Beyoncé, Jay Z, and Bruce Springsteen, in order to win the governor’s seat. The seat is currently occupied by the first female Iowa governor, Kim Reynolds, a Republican who plans to also run in the 2018 election. All of the fame in the world cannot relate to rural, down-to-earth Iowans who are in need of more assistance from the government.
Currently, Jon Neiderbach, Andy McGuire, John Norris, Fred Hubbell, Cathy Glasson, Nate Boulton, and Ross Wilburn are eyeing the governor’s seat in 2018. They have to work a lot harder than making jokes about the president if they are hopeful of regaining the state that is almost entirely under Republican control. While Baldwin’s appearance did bring in a lot of fundraising money, there could have been a better, relatable role model to influence Iowa Democrats with more than elitist humor.