116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
So a very large jury of our peers has sentenced us to four more years of Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds and at least two more years of a GOP-controlled Legislature.
Thanks to the voters for their service. As for the verdict, well, no thanks.
A few weeks ago, I was asked what’s going to happen on election night. “A bloodbath,” I said in describing Democratic chances. I didn’t want to be right, but here we are, in a state as red as a clown nose, as red as a tornado warning with no shelter in sight. Republicans nearly grabbed every statewide office, although Democratic Auditor Rob Sand leads amid recounts. Still, oversight is on life support.
With inflation, gas prices and economic worries, the climate favored Republicans. Blame the state party, the campaigns, the candidates or the president, but Democrats have forgotten how to win in Iowa.
Hopes that other issues, including the fight for abortion rights, would change the game fizzled. Reynolds and other GOP state candidates pushed for abortion restrictions and using public bucks for private school scholarships. Both are unpopular, but that didn’t seem to matter.
Top Iowa Republicans proudly received support from a former president who incited an attack on the U.S. Capitol and remains a clear and present threat to our democracy. Our governor, U.S. senators and GOP members of Congress don’t have the courage to stand up to the threat. And yet, it didn’t seem to matter. Donald Trump-backed candidates stumbled elsewhere in the country, but Iowa remains his stronghold.
A radical, conservative Supreme Court obliterated women’s reproductive rights, and may trample more constitutional protections. In Iowa, it seems it will be only a matter of time before abortion is effectively banned. Making exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother is not middle ground, as Republicans portrayed it. It’s extreme. But it didn’t seem to matter.
Democrats don’t really favor abortion up until birth, or defunding police. School libraries aren’t really peddling “pornographic” books. Teachers don’t have a secret “sinister agenda” to harm children. Transgender kids really are not a threat to their classmates. Republicans repeated these lies over and over. It didn’t seem to matter. They won big anyway.
Iowa Democrats wandering the wilderness and now find themselves in a desert for years to come. In December, they’ll likely lose their first-in-the-nation caucuses. This red wave likely sealed that fate.
So it’s time to give up, right? Pull down the shades, pull up the blankets and cancel your Twitter accounts. Trumpian forces rule Iowa. The big liar himself will soon launch his seditious 2024 sequel. Or maybe Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis or some other Republican will take up the Trump cause.
It wasn’t long ago that I considered giving up this gig once the election confirmed Iowa’s final plunge into the crimson crevasse. But I’m going to stick around and fight for my home state, knowing I may never see the turnaround. Call me a glutton for punishment.
“The Gazette has given me hope that at least we have some light in such a time of darkness. Bless you and The Gazette,” a reader wrote after my Sunday column.
“Your columns help me feel less alone. Thank you for giving voice to the voiceless … “ another wrote.
So the verdict is in, but the appeals for sanity are not exhausted.
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