116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
I ‘ve been giving advice to Republicans for a long time. Usually, I’m in a chair in front of a television screen and alone. No one in the room ever questions my wisdom, but the Republicans don’t ever follow my screamed suggestions. As a concerned citizen, however, I feel obligated to continue to evaluate their candidates for president.
The 2024 caucuses and primaries across the country are obviously not imminent, but tourism in Iowa will increase dramatically beginning soon. If you look like a Republican, watch carefully when you shut the front door. One of a dozen candidates you barely know, may grab you. Worse yet, of course, it could be humble Donald Trump who surprised us all by announcing he will run again, telling us on social media a day earlier, “Hopefully, tomorrow will turn out to be one of the most important days in the history of our country.” He really did.
We can expect visits from others as well: Mike Pence, Nikki Haley, Tom Cotton, Tim Scott, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Larry Hogan, Mike Pompeo, Josh Hawley, and Ron DeSantis. I may have missed a couple who have hinted they may run.
Of all those peddlers of conservative solutions, Ron DeSantis seems to have already captured the lead. He is a breath of stale air. He just won a smashing re-election as governor of Florida, winning by 19 percent over a former Democratic governor. That is not surprising since he had been anointed.
Here’s his blasphemy in a paid ad: “God looked down on His planned paradise and said, ‘I need a protector.’ So, God made a fighter …. That fighter is DeSantis, the governor who will serve the people, and save their jobs, their livelihoods, their liberty, their happiness.”
They say that God did it on the eighth day and I say He should have taken the day off after an arduous week. Many politicians think they were chosen, not just called, to lead, but they don’t quite say it. DeSantis apparently believes it and is willing to share his inspired endorsement. We will see him in Iowa more than once in months ahead. We will see a mini-Trump ideologically, but one who has already offended his secular leader and drawn the wrath of Trump. Sooner or later, all the others will, too, of course, but Ron leads the way.
DeSantis is proud of his anti-abortion success in Florida and his “don’t say gay” in class, as he meddles in education. It is not yet clear how he, and the others, will deal with the midterm exodus. Even in a Republican caucus, women and the young may look for a leader less cemented in yesterday.
It will be slightly more fun than watching the corn grow. Trump now reacts to any perceived slight and cannot accept his right to remain silent. Sadly, in winner-take-all elections, he is likely to win if the others split the vote among several of them.
My TV is off, but here is my advice for the Republican Party. Regain your soul. When you leave Iowa in the spring of 2024, leave it with someone who is not Trump or Trumpian. Otherwise, you invite a second blue wave. That would possibly make it a great day and worth all my earlier screaming at you.
Norman Sherman of Coralville has worked extensively in politics, including as Vice President Hubert Humphrey’s press secretary.