Government

Iowa GOP expects 'fantasyland' ideas in Democratic debates

2020 hopefuls begin first round of televised debates tonight

An advertisement touts the first Democratic presidential debates for the 2020 elections outside the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. Twenty candidates will participate in two groups today and Thursday. NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo are hosting the debates. (Drew Angerer/Tribune News Service)
An advertisement touts the first Democratic presidential debates for the 2020 elections outside the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. Twenty candidates will participate in two groups today and Thursday. NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo are hosting the debates. (Drew Angerer/Tribune News Service)

Democratic presidential candidates are making Republicans’ work to win reelection easy with their “fantasyland” proposals that would be devastating for Iowa, according to the chairman of the state’s GOP.

In a pre-buttal to the Democratic National Committee’s two nights of nationally televised debates that begin at 8 p.m. Iowa time today, Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann said he’s anticipating that the Democratic forums will highlight proposals “that have absolutely no basis in reality in fiscal sense.”

Kaufmann made his comments during a conference call Wednesday with reporters to provide the “Republican perspective, I would say the common sense perspective.”

In particular, Kaufmann said a Democratic $93 trillion Green New Deal and $32 trillion government-run health care program would be devastating for the Iowa agriculture and insurance industries.

“Bottom line is, I think you’re going to hear about the trillions of giveaways, the trillions of programs that have absolutely no basis in reality in fiscal sense,” Kaufmann said.

So in some ways, he added, the 2020 hopefuls’ “ludicrous … ridiculous” proposals are making it easy for the GOP to respond.

“If this was mainstream stuff, it would be difficult to combat some of this because you got to get into the weeds” and go beyond 30- and 60-second television ads to respond, Kaufmann said. “This is so obviously ridiculous that it actually makes our life pretty easy.”

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Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley won’t be watching the debates but is following the Democratic campaign and will pay attention to the news coverage this week.

Based on what he hears from Iowans in his office and at his county meetings around the state, Grassley thinks they will be most interested in the candidates’ attitude toward China, trade agreements “and probably how they respond to a very good economy that Trump has.”

“I hear all this business about tax cuts for the rich, but also there’s tax cuts for middle class. What have they have to say about that?” he said.

The debates will be televised from 8 to 10 p.m. today and Thursday on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo and streamed live for free on NBC and Telemundo’s websites.

• Comments (319) 398-8375; James.Lynch@TheGazette.com

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