The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Opinion | Gov. Reynolds must board the ‘Trump Train’

As much as Gov. Reynolds wants to stay neutral in the presidential race, there’s only one choice she can make to save her image.
Ayrton Breckenridge
Gov. Kim Reynolds signs an autograph after the Gov. Kim Reynolds’ Fair-Side Chats during the Iowa State Fair at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023.

Neutrality could prove costly for Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds.

At the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 24, 2024 presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis joined Reynolds onstage. While they were prepared to talk about politics, the large crowd there made it clear which Republican candidate they actually preferred.

Fairgoers shouted exclamations like “We love Trump” and “Go back to Florida.” DeSantis and Reynolds had difficulty trying to communicate, and Reynolds’ attempts to calm the crowds certainly did not help.

Against DeSantis’ 19 percent Iowa poll rating, Trump holds 42 percent of Iowans’ vote, according to a recent Des Moines Register poll. By not endorsing him now, Reynolds risks dividing Republican voters in the presidential race and compromising her own image as a conservative and her re-election chances.

Despite DeSantis’ poor polling numbers behind Trump, Reynolds has been adamant that she will remain neutral until the GOP primary.

If she doesn’t endorse Trump, she could be seen as RINO, or “Republican in name only” to the overwhelming number of Iowa Republicans who support Trump. A fan base as passionate and strict as Trump supporters could turn on her fast and hard.

This would leave a spot open for another Republican candidate to take her spot the next time Reynolds attempts to run for Iowa governor. Although she won’t be running until 2026, this is still something a candidate can use against her image.

If Reynolds wants President Joe Biden replaced with a Republican candidate, she must endorse Trump.

Why Donald Trump and not someone else? There are plenty of significant reasons.

The truth is that Trump is the face of the Republican Party across the country.

DeSantis is simply not popular in Iowa. This isn’t surprising given that DeSantis’s crusade against “wokeness” is practically the only thing that comes out of his mouth. His emphasis on culture war issues doesn’t give people much information about his policies.

Trump was already president so that alone gives him more credibility than DeSantis. Voters already know what a Trump presidency looks like, which motivates and strengthens his base even more.

Even if wokeness isn’t what’s holding him back, the fact is no one can trump Trump. The man has a cult following so strong they are willing to try to overthrow the government for him, even if their reasons are totally amorphous. DeSantis is nowhere near Trump’s level of popularity; the polls and his lack of a fanbase showcase that.

When it comes to Reynolds herself, the fact that she has not already endorsed Trump could most definitely harm her reputation and her holding out will only make it worse.

Considering the high poll numbers for Trump, her refusal to endorse anyone, especially Trump, will not help her get reelected or increase her popularity.

If there is anything to be learned from the 2016 presidential election, politicians like former presidential candidates Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and others will fall behind the nominee. Anyone who doesn’t endorse the nominee, especially a man like Trump, will end up hurting their image to the entire Republican party and Republican voters.

Reynolds stated recently that she does not believe voters would give Trump a free pass if he did not attend the Iowa State Fair events because those voters want to interact with him. Considering he has over 20 points against DeSantis, Trump’s success in Iowa is all but guaranteed.

In other words, if Reynolds doesn’t want her public image and electability to be destroyed, she must endorse Trump, even if she doesn’t want to right now.

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About the Contributors
Aaron El-Kerdani, Opinions Columnist
Fouad "Aaron" El-Kerdani is a third year student a the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinema. Prior to joining The Daily Iowan, Aaron did some journalism work for his classess involving interviews, photography, video editing, traveling to another country to cover an event, and his experience in film classess helped him develop these skills and gain knowledge on camera work and writing.
Ayrton Breckenridge, Managing Visuals Editor
Ayrton Breckenridge is the Managing Visuals Editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and cinema. This is his fourth year working for the DI.