Representative Bruce Braley, the Democratic nominee for Senate in Iowa, told a Florida radio host that he overcomes an elitist progressive image by talking to Iowans “in terms they can understand” about progressive policies.
“I face this every time I do a town hall meeting,” Braley said on the Ring of Fire in 2011. “I listen to the concerns of people. And, you know, from what you’ve done your entire life, that the biggest concern people have is that nobody is listening to them. And by engaging voters and talking about why you are a proud, progressive, populist and what that means — in terms they can understand — that’s how you connect with voters and show them the false policies that are being offered to them and show them the policies that don’t lead to an economic boom for the middle class.”
Republicans are using the clip to drive home the message that Braley — who derided Senator Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), as a mere “farmer from Iowa who never went to law school” at a trial lawyer fundraiser — is out of touch and condescending.
“Bruce Braley thinks he has to talk down to us Iowans so we can understand him. We understand him perfectly. He is a liberal elitist who thinks Iowans are helpless unless Washington tells us what to do,” said Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann in a statement responding to the radio show comments. ”We know how wrong he is, and on Election Day, he’ll know too.”
Braley, who is running against Republican nominee Joni Ernst to replace retiring Democratic Senator Tom Harkin, made the comments while trying to explain how progressives struggle to connect with heartland voters.
“I think part of the problems that progressives have faced is that, at times, there has been an impression that there is an elitism among progressive policies that wants to ignore the realities of what’s going on in places between the east coast and the west coast,” he said.