Living in Society

Iowa Returning to its Roots

GOP Outpost in North Liberty, Iowa
GOP Outpost in North Liberty, Iowa

Tucked away in a North Liberty strip mall in Iowa’s most Democratic county is a Republican campaign office.

The yard signs along Highway 965 are noticeable only for their comparatively large number (five), and one including an image of the GOP elephant and the letters “G.O.P.”

The county had 18,335 registered Republicans on Sept. 1 and regardless of their chances in 2016, Republicans hope to build on their numbers and influence here.

Former Apprentice finalist and Donald Trump Iowa campaign chair Tana Goertz was slated to appear with State Representative Bobby Kaufmann, who represents six precincts in Johnson County, at yesterday’s grand opening. Current office hours are 1 until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, a token presence in a Democratic county.

Iowa is not a Democratic state. It is Republican, such appellation including many voters who register “no party.” If the Republican Party of Iowa was caught off guard by the 2006 insurgency against their terrible governance, they reacted and have their act together more now than at any time since our family moved back to Iowa in 1993.

Expect Iowa to award its six electoral votes to Donald Trump this cycle, contrary to the claims of prominent Iowa Democrats. It’s not just me saying this. Yesterday’s Monmouth University poll showed Trump leading Clinton by eight points with a 4.9 percent margin of error.

“Among Iowa voters likely to participate in November’s presidential election, 45 percent currently support Trump and 37 percent back Clinton.  Another 8 percent intend to vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson, 2 percent say they will support Green Party candidate Jill Stein, 2 percent say they will vote for another candidate, and 6 percent are undecided,” according to the Monmouth University website.

A single poll in September is meaningful only as a wake-up call to starstruck Democrats. As readers may know, the author is with Hillary and nothing has changed since I declared for her before the February Iowa caucus. She could indeed win Iowa’s electoral votes. If she does it will only have been if the Iowa Democratic Party changed its process for voter registration and turnout. There is nothing to indicate any substantial changes and 2016 is not expected to be a wave election for Democrats in Iowa. If anything, there is a solid chance the wake from relative Republican unity will sweep the Iowa Senate into a Republican majority. Democrats are working hard to prevent that from happening.

In 2016 people still talk about the Kennedy administration as if it were bathed in the glow of Camelot. What is forgotten is Richard Nixon won Iowa’s electoral votes. 2016 is more like 1960 in that despite Iowa’s participation in the nominating process, Hillary Clinton will win 270 electoral votes, just none of them in Iowa.

Why do I say that?

Unlike in Democratic states, Republican culture has gone mainstream in Iowa. Democrats have invested too much in chattering social media and too little in mainstream presences like university activities, farming, community groups, churches, and the like. By focusing on the outrageous behavior of Governor Terry Branstad, Bruce Rastetter and other prominent Republicans, Democrats left everyday Iowans behind.

Low wage workers are everywhere in Iowa in significant numbers. Based on my conversations with them, if they vote at all, they are just as likely to vote for Donald Trump as Hillary Clinton, whose name the corporate media associates with all things bad.

The kernel of hope that arises from 2016 Iowa Republican hegemony is that after Nixon’s defeat, Iowans elected Harold Hughes governor. Hughes was a liberal’s liberal who was later elected U.S. Senator. Let’s hope Clinton holds her own nationally, and that 2018 can be a comeback year for Iowa Democrats.

There are still Iowa Democrats who haven’t given up on 2016. I hope they are right and I am wrong.