Opinion | Iowa needs to return back to blue

The Republican Party is failing Iowa, and it’s time to give the chance to Democrats to clean up the mess.


Katina Zentz

Supporters of Former Vice President Joe Biden Nancy Welch (left) and Gary Schnieder wait for the results during the caucus at Des Moines Precinct 62 in the Knapp Center on Monday, February 3, 2020. The caucus head count reached 849 people, leaving 127 individuals needed for the candidate to be declared viable.

Hannah Pinski, Opinions Editor

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ message at the Iowa Democratic Party’s Hall of Fame event for Iowans to work toward turning Iowa blue couldn’t have come at a more dire time.

Historically, Iowa is a purple state. Despite Republicans having success in the voting booth during the 2020 election – including gaining seats in the legislature and flipping two districts from blue to red – experts still believe Iowa is a swing state.

It was only 11 years ago when the Democrats last had control. Between 2007-2010, the party held the governor’s office and a majority of seats in both legislative branches.

But the cost of being a red state now is too high. From creating a toxic culture to mishandling COVID-19, it’s clear that the Republican Party is failing Iowa.

Flipping the state back to blue may be the only way to save Iowa’s future, and the 2022 midterm elections is the best way to start.

Iowa’s culture harms minority groups

The Republican Party instigated a culture war nationwide, and Iowa Republicans brought the battle onto state soil.

What are the consequences? Iowa is driving away the minority population through methods like limiting conversations about systemic racism and attacking LGBTQ+ rights.

Recently, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill into law that bans critical race theory education and “divisive concepts” in school curricula and diversity, equity, and inclusion training. This law, with similar language to former President Donald Trump’s executive order from October 2020, stops Iowa from addressing the roots of systemic racism.

Iowa can’t make progress in social reform when we have to tiptoe — or even stop — conversations about the impact of systemic racism. Republicans chose to sweep the ugly parts of our history under the rug and refuse to confront the problems.

Additionally, 15 bills threatening LGBTQ rights appeared at this year’s legislative session, from the bathroom bill to limiting access to healthcare. LGBTQ+ rights are in danger, and Iowa is stuck in a deadlock with social justice reform that drives away minority groups.

What Iowa needs is a chance for Democrats like Rep. Ras Smith, D-Waterloo, who places emphasis on unification in leadership positions, to change the current culture.

COVID-19 Disaster

A lack of leadership and prioritizing personal beliefs led Iowa to become a COVID-19 disaster.

Reynolds took her party’s values of freedom and personal choice and put them on a pedestal above protecting the state. Over 6,000 Iowan lives have been lost, and those individuals and their families are the ones unfairly paying the price of her choice.

From partial mask mandates that came too late to returning $95 million in federal money for COVID-19 testing in schools, it’s clear Reynolds’ decisions demonstrate a lack of leadership that Iowa needs.

The facts can’t be ignored. Iowa at one point stood out globally as a COVID-19 hotspot, and three of our cities were labeled as the top 20 outbreak areas in the country.

Iowa can’t have a party in leadership that took American values and abused them by using it as an excuse to refuse to pass policy that could’ve helped save Iowans based on personal beliefs.

If they couldn’t lead Iowa through the heart of the crisis, how can we trust them to continue to lead the state through the long-term recovery?

While COVID-19 won’t be as dominant of an issue in years to come, the failures that came from Reynolds and her party deem them unworthy to hold power in the state. It’s time to give Democrats the chance — the party that took COVID-19 seriously and followed safety precautions during campaign season — to hold control of the state.


Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.