One of my favorite things about The Iowa Standard is the relationships I’ve made with various Iowans across the state. Many confide in me, and I always keep confidential things confidential.
But it isn’t always easy.
In the past month or so, I have heard from many activists across the state who are being pressured by the Republican establishment to stand down during primary season.
This is disappointing.
After all, what is the Republican Party if it isn’t about individual liberty? Do we really give up our free speech, freedom of association and ability to think when we get entrenched within the Party?
I get it, by the way. When someone is a part of an official Republican group, then it’s important to have some sense of GOP unity. And that will and can come – after the primary.
But primaries are far too important to get wrong.
While electing a Democrat to the Iowa House or U.S. Congress can hurt for two years, choosing the wrong Republican could hurt for 6, 10, 14, 20 years – depending on how long they eventually serve. At least every two or four years Republicans would get a legitimate shot at beating the Democrat.
When wrong Republicans get elected – the Republicans who voted against the Heartbeat bill, for instance – they don’t even receive a primary challenger.
Not only then are there “weak” Republicans in the legislature, but they are able to influence other Republicans in the legislature to water things down.
And, let’s be honest. The Republican establishment is attempting to neuter the grassroots conservatives by telling them to “stay neutral” in primaries.
Ask yourself, does the Republican establishment follow its own advice?
I am not saying it is right or it’s wrong – but has Gov. Kim Reynolds endorsed any Republicans who have primary challenges? Has Sen. Joni Ernst? Has Sen. Charles Grassley? Do Party buildings have signs promoting one Republican but not the other?
Again, I am not saying that is wrong. Everyone has the right to endorse in a primary. But nobody has the right to attempt to silence someone’s conscience.
The GOP supposedly wants to “grow,” right? It wants more activists, more grassroots, more volunteers, etc. Then, when people step up and get involved in the Party, they’re expected to not have opinions on Party primaries?
Again, where is the individual freedom and liberty?
We should encourage each other to be active and engaged – and that includes in primary elections. Primary elections can be more important than general elections.
My message to those who have been “encouraged” to “stay neutral” and “be quiet” and “respect the process” is simple:
Do the right thing. Follow your conscience. Exercise your freedoms.
If doing those three things leads you to a place where you feel compelled to get involved in a primary, then do it.
This is still America. And Republicans are still the Party of “small government,” “limited control” and opposed to “centralized power.”
One of the other “best things” about The Iowa Standard is, because of the funding model, our message can be straight to the point and honest. We aren’t going to try to cater to the Republican Party elite or leadership.
However, we do feel confident in saying that if Republicans simply do the Republican thing, they’ll never have to worry about being criticized by The Iowa Standard.
But when individuals are told to not exercise their rights and freedom during an election, The Iowa Standard will criticize that every chance it gets.
My favorite part of writing columns is to come up with conclusions that do a good job of tying the end to the beginning.
But this time, I’m going to make it really simple and leave you with this:
The time for sorting out the bold colors from the pale pastels is now.
“Let’s have a new first party. A Republican Party, raising a banner of bold colors, no pale pastels. A banner instantly recognizable as standing for certain values which will not be compromised.”
Activists, be bold. Follow your conscience. More importantly, exercise your freedoms.