2020 candidate John Delaney makes presidential pitch to the Q-C
Leading the Nation — Iowa 2020

2020 candidate John Delaney makes presidential pitch to the Q-C


With his eye on the White House, presidential candidate John Delaney told Quad-City residents on Wednesday that the 2020 election against Republican President Donald Trump is “going to be fought in the center,” as the Democrats "need a moderate to beat the president."

Preceded onstage by Bob Seger’s hit song “Against the Wind,” Delaney offered viewpoints on issues including health care, foreign policy, economic growth and criminal justice reform to a crowd of a few dozen people at St. Ambrose University’s Rogalski Center. During the panel and town hall-style discussion, Delaney preached his well-worn message of a nation currently divided, saying the responsibility of the next president is to reunify the country and lead the country toward larger policy goals through bipartisanship.

“I want to be the person that brings this country together,” Delaney said.

Touting his blue collar roots — Delaney often reminds people that he’s traveling around the U.S. in the pickup truck once owned by his late father, a union electrician — the presidential candidate made his pitch to Iowa voters as a “pragmatic idealist” who describes problems ranging from poverty to climate change as a failure of federal leaders to enact smart and forward-thinking laws.

He also outlined his first 100 days in office, which he said would involve working toward key policy issues that Republicans and Democrats can agree on, saying the American people need to be shown that Congress can do its job.

Delaney, a former Maryland congressman, is one of the lesser-known candidates nationally. But he’s sought to boost his profile and support by employing the Iowa strategy made famous by former President Jimmy Carter: Get out in Iowa early, win the caucuses, secure the Democratic Party’s nomination and emerge victorious in the general election.

Delaney has long since visited all of Iowa’s 99 counties and recently opened up several new campaign offices around the state, including one in Davenport. He became independently wealthy through health care and commercial lending companies he founded.

Delaney was the first Democrat to announce his 2020 candidacy nearly two years ago, but the playing field has grown substantially since then. He’s now one of 20 candidates on an ideological spectrum that ranges from the star-powered liberal Sen. Bernie Sanders to the moderate celebrity former Vice President Joe Biden.

Among the questions asked of Delaney was his position on the Electoral College, and whether he thought it should be eliminated.

“I would argue there’s probably a better chance of us being hit by a meteor right now,” Delaney said in his response, adding that there’s “no incentive” for smaller states to ratify such a constitutional amendment and he would rather put effort toward other high-obstacle legislative efforts like passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. 

Other issues discussed Wednesday included his plans to create a carbon tax to combat climate change, putting $1 trillion into national infrastructure, and lowering the interest rates on federal student loans.

The event was the second in a series of forums titled "Leading the Nation — Iowa 2020,” hosted by the Quad-City Times, St. Ambrose University and the Quad-City Chamber of Commerce. Organizers say the forums are aimed at informing Iowans ahead of the first-in-the-nation caucuses, set for Feb. 3, 2020. 


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