Do you like going to the circus? One is coming to Iowa soon. It’ll be touring the state here for about a year, and it features high-wire acts, jumping through hoops, feeding the animals raw meat, and featuring a clown who isn’t funny. Some nudes are appealing; others are horrible. Even if you haven’t bought a ticket, you can’t escape the noise and the compulsion to look into the tent.
It is not a normal circus, but lived democracy. A presidential primary has begun, usually a distraction for members of both political parties, but so far the Republicans are stealing the show. About a dozen people will strive for the nomination. Some you’ve probably never heard of, like Asa Hutchinson of I forget where.
At the top is currently a clown who is running for the presidency for the third time. Many decent Republicans have found that if you get too close, you get stuck. Keep your distance, once you’ve hugged him it’s hard to break away, but traditional Republic fatcats are already running from him. Rupert Murdoch, who owns Fox News, is also looking for new recruits.
Donald Trump sees it differently. The day before he announced his candidacy, he told us all: “I hope tomorrow will be one of the most important days in our country’s history!”
With that humility, he will be here a lot until the February 2024 caucuses. I don’t often feel sorry for Republicans. i do it today Sen. Chuck Grassley has to perform a physical miracle that’s harder than push-ups. He chooses to accept Donald Trump, but at a distance, beyond the tar.
Within a day of Trump’s announcement, Grassley was asked if he supported Trump. With a sponged back, he told The Gazette, “I tell every Republican that. See you in Iowa.” The governor had a better immediate solution — total silence. We read, “Kim Reynolds’ office and campaign have not responded to messages.”
Former governor Terry Branstad is walking the tightrope. He was appointed by Trump to be our ambassador to China, but he’s undecided on whether Trump should run again.
Iowa evangelist Bob Vander Plaats, who is president of The Family Leader, was more direct about a Trump candidacy. He said, “I think it’s just time to turn the page.” If only Grassley and Reynolds had a thimble of honesty from Vander Plaats.
Trump has already begun his attack on frontrunner Ron DeSantis, calling him disloyal and “Ron DeSanctimonious.” Trump also targeted Virginia Gov. Gene Youngkin, another possible contender, and mocked his name by saying his name “sounds Chinese.” A long time ago he spoke of “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz and “Little Marco” Rubio. Mitch McConnell was “an old crow” and his wife. Elaine Chao a “China loving woman”. Trump also called McConnell “a piece (expletive)”.
When the final circus act is over and the caucus carnival is over, the outcome will likely be inclusive. Even if Trump were to lead, he probably won’t even get half the delegates. But that pattern was enough to win the 2016 nomination. Republicans in Iowa should put him out to pasture.
Norman Sherman from Coralville has worked extensively in politics, including as press secretary for Vice President Hubert Humphrey.