Remember about six months ago when Virginia shocked the nation with a thorough repudiation of the Republican Party in their state legislative and gubernatorial election? Virginia and New Jersey hold elections for state offices in odd years which somewhat suppresses votes.
Last year was much different. Voters turned out in record numbers especially in Virginia. When they turned out they voted mostly for Democrats – by 9 percentage points statewide. Was the turnout driven by the disgust of the current administration? Surely it was to some degree. Since Virginia is a next door neighbor to DC there is no doubt that Washington politics flop into Virginia. Find a good analysis here:
Even though Democrats won the whole state by a wide margin, thanks to the Republicans use of gerrymandering after the 2010 election, they were able to hang on to a slight majority in the Virginia House of Delegates – 21 to 19 in the senate and 51 to 49 in the assembly. A good discussion of the gerrymandering right after the election can be found here at slate.com
Now about six and a half months after this overwhelming repudiation of Republican policies in Virginia the election has borne some very important fruit. Despite the slight Republican majority and much legislative obstruction, both houses of the Virginia legislature have passed a bill bringing Medicaid into the state. It is a great victory for the people of Virginia.
Had all those voters not turned out last November this could not have happened. This is one of the best illustrations of the importance of voting. Every vote is extremely important. The lesson here could not be more plain.
Does Iowa have issues that will drive voters out to vote? For one thing the anti-Trump feelings in Iowa are probably stronger than ever. These feelings grow daily as the Trump administration fumbles from one self inflicted wound to another. Many of this administration’s problems have Iowan directly in the crosshairs. Farmers had to be shocked to find out that their products would not be bought by China any longer.
Beyond the direct affect on Iowans there is the stench of the most corrupt administration ever emanating from Washington. Even with such egregious signs of corruption as the Chinese government guaranteeing loans for a Trump project in Indonesia or a bailout loan for son-in-law Jared Kushner’s bad investment at 666 Fifth Avenue in NYC. These are just a couple of the more recent bribes concluded mostly in the public eye.
Tied in with that is Iowa’s Republicans in congress supporting the president and therefore refusing to do anything to stop the corruption. The constitution calls for congress to act as a check on the executive branch as part of congress’s duty. The way this congress rolls over for this corrupt administration it is like they are driving the getaway car. You know their names. Get familiar with their games before November.
At the state level we have seen eight years of Republican governors bankrupt the state. Now with the past two years of Republican dominance of both houses of the legislature we have seen union busting, fiscal irresponsibility, privatization of Medicaid, the degradation of our once proud public school system, a unsustainable budget coupled with a massive tax cut for the rich, the most restrictive abortion laws in the country and the allowance of near worthless healthcare insurance to be sold here.
In eight years of extreme right wing governors and the last two years of a Republican legislator what was once one of the best states in the country to live in is well on its way to joining Kansas and Wisconsin as the poster states for their radical politics.
If Iowans have been paying attention the way that Virginians have been they will turn out in large numbers this fall to repudiate the course our state has embarked on. And like Virginians they will not only turn out to repudiate current leadership, but will also turn out to vote for restoring what we once had such as a well run Medicaid system, better schools, balanced budgets and the ability of women to control their own bodies.
Sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got until it is gone. Iowans, your fate is in you own hands. Elections have consequences as more than 400,000 people in Virginia will find out soon. We can do that also.