Staff Columnist

A new day in America, but Iowa is still pretty Trumpy

Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States by Chief Justice John Roberts as Jill Biden holds the B
Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States by Chief Justice John Roberts as Jill Biden holds the Bible during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

So the country has moved on from Donald Trump. But in Iowa, some of the former president’s strongest backers and enablers still run the joint.

Sort of takes the fizz out of the Champagne.

Our Republican Legislature and the new Biden administration will be giving us a split screen view of governing in the months ahead.

President Joe Biden will work to put a strong federal pandemic response and vaccination plan on track. In Des Moines, Republicans will keep praising Gov. Kim Reynolds for her embrace of Trump’s do-as-little-as-possible approach to the coronavirus. Health experts will guide the federal response. Ours will be guided by leaders who refuse even to wear masks in the Capitol.

Biden will be pushing to help Americans struggling with the pandemic’s economic fallout. In Des Moines lawmakers will be looking to help wealthy earners with another round of tax cuts.

The new administration will be putting environmental protection back on the front burner. In Des Moines, agricultural interests will continue to control our environmental policy.

In Washington, improving public education will be a priority. In Des Moines, they’ll be working on vouchers for private schools.

Among the first bills to move ahead in Des Moines is one reinstating a limited death penalty. They’re pushing for constitutional amendments restricting abortion rights and basically abolishing gun regulations. Priorities, folks. A clear understanding of Iowa’s biggest needs in challenging times.

So there’s no new day dawning in Des Moines. Just more of the same.

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We’ve also got three new Republican U.S. representatives in Iowa. Each one looked upon the horrors of Jan. 6 and then voted against impeaching a president who incited a violent attack on Congress. Why did they run if they have so little regard for the institution they’ve joined and the lives of their colleagues?

U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson argued holding Trump accountable would cause “further division.” But she solidly backed a president whose entire strategy was to divide us and turn anger into power.

“Even Though President Trump will no longer be in office, I’m never going to stop advocating for the things he championed,” said Hinson of a president who perpetrated the Big Lie about a stolen election and mismanaged the crisis of our generation, with 400,000 dead and counting.

The good news is that with Trump gone Iowans might start to see their own Trumpian state and federal leaders differently. If Biden manages to score some successes, it may make more of the same feel more like falling behind. A long shot, I admit.

Maybe more Iowans will decide a pro-corporate, pro-big ag agenda seasoned with myths about voter fraud, tired culture war outrage and dangerously downplaying a pandemic isn’t making Iowa better. After billions of dollars in tax cuts over the last 25 years, maybe Iowans will start wondering whether it’s really true that cutting revenues while underfunding schools, universities, our mental health system and other priorities is the right formula. But hey, we’ve got a big surplus.

It’s an agenda benefiting the guys with private jets, but not so much the rest of us.

Trumpism, at last, was rejected by the nation. And Iowa Republicans who think they can win even if their party continues to be a backward bastion of bad ideas should think again. Cheers.

(319)-291-1762; todd.dorman@thegazette.com

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