Sheep line up for judging at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, in 2011. This year’s fair was decidedly lacking in star power on the Democratic side, Murphy writes. And that spells trouble for 2020. (Tom Williams/Roll Call file photo)
OPINION — As a political reporter, it’s hard not to love the Iowa State Fair, the two-week staging ground for some of the biggest names in American politics to make their case alongside a 600-pound butter cow and an epic hog calling contest. The fair is both a thermometer and a road map that tells you how hot a party or candidate is at any given moment, as well as where they’re likely headed next.
In a midterm election year like 2018, when Democratic energy is palpable and first-time candidates are plentiful, you’d think the parade of high-profile national Democrats showing up to claim their time at the Des Moines Register’s famous Soapbox stage would be long and strong.