We just got past what I believe many of us felt may have been the last gasp for real democracy to maintain its tenuous grip on this country. Now the Democrats have the difficult task of simultaneously attempting to craft bills that meet the pressing needs of the country, provide oversight of the executive branch that has been missing for at least two years and was askew for years before that and prepare for the election that will once again be the most important in our lifetimes.
At the national level, keeping the House will be of the utmost importance in 2020. Iowa Democrats will have three seats to defend. It will not be easy, nor cheap. On top of that Iowa will have one senate seat up for a vote in 2020, that of Joni Ernst. You may have noticed that Ernst’s strategy for a long time has been to lay low and publicly take few controversial stands. For that matter Ernst seldom comes out strong one way or another often couching her language in non-controversial language.
During her original campaign election she was the smiling, friendly and neighborly lady who was always there with a nice comment. Meanwhile the PACs created by the Supreme Court’s “Citizen’s United” decision did the heavy lifting of negative advertising that helped Ernst win. She also avoided things like an interview with the Des Moines Register.
After only two years of Donald Trump, Ernst has been forced to vote on at least a few controversial issues. It will be hard for her to just smile and wave in 2020. That won’t suffice for many Iowans who would like to know why she voted to take away their access to Health Care. Or why she was in the bank for Trump to install the much maligned Brett Kavanaugh with a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.
Her vote for Kavanaugh was quite a study in a truly wishy-washy politician. Ernst raised quite a stink about sexual harassment in the military including a claim as noted in the link above that she herself was harassed in the military. Yet when it came time for Ernst to really stand up for women, she fell back on Republican talking points and voted with Team Trump to give Kavanaugh his lifetime appointment. In fact she is pretty much a rubber stamp for Trump, a solid vote no matter the issue.
Even with Trump’s tariff policies causing midwest and especially Iowa farmers major grief little is heard from Ernst. Although she has not said anything it appears her strategy is to not cross Trump. At a time when Trump’s policies have resulted in Iowa being in the target, is that what iowans want?
Yet another area where Ernst appears to be loathe to cross Trump is on climate change. When the administration tried to sneak the really frightening report on climate change out on a holiday weekend when most Americans would be otherwise occupied so as to sort of hide it, the report garnered huge headlines. The midwestern farm belt is one of the areas that looks to be hardest hit by the continuation of the ongoing climate change crisis.
How did Ernst respond? Check it out below on youtube. The section on the climate begins at 4:50 and ends at 6:35:
“By this point, no one should be surprised that the president can’t tell the difference between short-term weather fluctuations and long-term climate trends. At least he didn’t repeat his crazy suggestion that climate change is a Chinese hoax. Yet his denialism is echoed by other Republicans who should know better. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) told CNN on Sunday: “Our climate always changes and we see those ebb and flows through time. . . . We need to always consider the impact to American industry and jobs.”
We do need to consider the impact on U.S. jobs — but that’s an argument for action rather than, as Ernst suggests, inaction. The National Climate Assessment warns that global warming could cause a 10 percent decline in gross domestic product and that the “potential for losses in some sectors could reach hundreds of billions of dollars per year by the end of this century.” Iowa and other farm states will be particularly hard hit as crops wilt and livestock die.”
Ernst is much less interested in helping Iowans than helping Trump and fooling people into voting for her.
Funny thing, we used to have a senator in that seat that really, really fought hard for Iowans.
Another female senator from the midwest seems to understand just what climate change will mean for this area and our children: (Starts at 5:30 ends at 7:40)
By the way, the Climate report estimates the economy will take a 10% hit due to expected changes. The Great Republican Recession of 2008 was a 5% hit on the economy just to give you an idea of the scale of damage that will be coming. It is time for Iowa to have real leadership in the senate.