The Hartley Sentinel-The Everly/Royal News - Serving O'Brien & Clay Counties

Rudderless Iowa Dems have little hope

As November election looms, party is at a crossroads in ruby red Iowa


October 13, 2022

Though many parts of the state are experiencing drought right now, Iowans are wallowing in the mud. It’s election season, which means candidates are throwing everything against the wall that will stick.

This state has been a Republican stronghold for the better part of six years. Iowa went blue for Barack Obama twice in 2008 and 2012, but has since veered hard right. It went to Donald Trump twice, a result that has been reflected in Des Moines. Republicans have held controlling majorities in the House and Senate since 2016 – by a lot, too – and there hasn’t been a Democrat in Terrace Hill since 2010. Statewide offices held by Democrats are now down to three – the attorney general, auditor and treasurer.

The Iowa GOP’s growing political monopoly has been an impressive feat in a state once considered as purple as a grape. Iowa is reliably red now and the state Democratic Party seems hopeless to do anything about it. That’s being proven election after election, and their flailing is becoming quite sad. Incumbent Gov. Kim Reynolds is holding double-digit leads in polls heading towards November and it’s plausible to think the election could go 60-40 in her favor. Iowa Democrats need to do some soul searching, because whatever they’re doing right now isn’t working.

With such soaring success, Republicans don’t really need to campaign too hard outside of the races where Democrats hold office. Accordingly, you maybe confused by ads on TV. It seems Reynolds is campaigning more against President Joe Biden than against her Democratic opponent, Deidre DeJear. This is the problem in states where one party controls everything – issues affecting Iowans often take a back seat to national identity politics, and nobody really wins. Reynolds is already doing a victory lap and “owning the Libs” in the process.

We’ll see if Democrats can hold on to the paltry scraps they’re clinging to come November. They hardly have any ground to lose and ceding any more would be devastating for the party’s future outlook. Though Republicans aren’t going to admit it right now, it’s better when both parties are strong and races are competitive. This claim necessitates a bit of perspective. Iowa GOP leaders often scoff at liberal strongholds like California and New York but fail to realize the same thing is happening here, just on the opposite end of the political spectrum. Moderates and holistic political debate rarely have a place in the room these days, which only creates more polarization of the two parties and disinterest among those in the middle.

The 2022 election promises few surprises – the only thing still up in the air is whether Democrats will blow their final vestiges of power down in Des Moines. That should be a damning indictment to those who still believe that party has any hope of regaining the ground its lost during the past decade. With the way things are going for Iowa Republicans, it seems the only thing Democrats have to look forward to is blowout loss after blowout loss.


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