It’s Groundhog Day — again. For the better part of two decades, Steve King has spewed hateful demagoguery, embraced alt-right groups at home and abroad, brazenly mocked immigrants, and questioned how extolling the virtues of white nationalism is racist. Now, he’s advancing a bizarrely perverse theory that humanity might have ceased to exist without rape and incest. These remarks are just the most recent stanza in the long-running, repugnant political theater that has defined Steve King’s career in Congress.
As if these reasons were not enough, King is one of Congress’ least productive legislators — and that’s saying something. Through eight terms in the U.S. House, only one bill he sponsored, which was renaming a post office, has become law. Earlier this year, King was stripped of his committee positions in the House.
In the face of years of bigotry and ineffective representation, Iowa Republicans have not done enough to hold him accountable. The now routine condemnation: “Steve King does not represent the views of the Republican Party” has become an insidious synonym for a shortage of political will to meet King head-on and demand he resign. Even now — as King has serious, conservative primary challengers — Iowa Republican leaders are declining to get involved in the primary, instead choosing to simply not endorse King. With all due respect, that is an abdication of responsibility and an unacceptable, tacit endorsement of King remaining in Congress.
To be sure, Steve King — alone — is responsible for his hateful rhetoric. However, we cannot expect voters to believe Steve King does not represent the Republican Party if party leaders remain on the sidelines during Iowa’s 4th Congressional District primary. The Republican Party of Iowa, Gov. Kim Reynolds, and all Republican elected officials should call on Steve King to resign and actively engage in the primary process by vigorously supporting his opponents.
We are beyond due for Steve King’s political reckoning. Iowans in the 4th Congressional District are decent and kind — they deserve better than to be represented by a bigot whose signature legislative achievement from his 16-year career is renaming a post office. It is time for our leaders to get off the sidelines.
• Kameron Dodge is a third-year law student at the University of Iowa College of Law and a Republican 4th District voter. He previously worked for Sen. Chuck Grassley.