A couple of years ago it seemed my inbox would overflow with messages from parents that highlighted the indoctrination happening in Iowa schools. This year I received message after message from Iowa landowners seeking help and advice about the potential of eminent domain abuse to build carbon capture pipelines across Iowa.
I’ve received plenty of emails, texts and phone calls. What can we do was the common refrain.
Once it became obvious the Iowa Senate and Gov. Kim Reynolds had zero interest in doing anything to protect these private property rights, my advice was pretty simple. And in all honesty, it was pretty obvious.
You’re an Iowa landowner. It’s 2023. Get presidential candidates to speak out about it. Make it an issue.
Ryan Binkley has been on it for months. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been given much of a chance. I heard the day after Binkley began speaking out against the project he had an appearance on Fox News canceled.
Now, Vivek Ramaswamy has joined the fight. And he hasn’t just told landowners he supports them, he has gone all out.
I heard that Summit CEO Bruce Rastetter reached out to Vivek’s team shortly after the event was announced.
I don’t doubt it. Clearly, the “powers that be” do not want this issue discussed. They don’t want their CO2 pipelines sucking up any of the oxygen from the presidential race.
But the reality is for Iowa landowners, this is their chance to amplify the issue. To make it go national. To show the nation just how much crony capitalism can exist even in little ole Iowa.
Ramaswamy is the youngest person in this race. At 38 years old, he could lose this election, and the 2028 election, and the 2032 election, and the 2036 election and still run in 2040 at age 54.
My point? Win or lose, Vivek has plenty of “future” to look forward to. If it doesn’t work out now, perhaps it will in a cycle or two.
If any of the candidates have reason to care more about self-preservation than Iowans’ private property rights, it’s Vivek.
But he is on the front lines. His 45-minute presentation on the issue revealed a depth of understanding that is amazing if we’re being honest. It’s clear he isn’t being an opportunist, he’s being a leader.
The obvious question is, if the 38-year-old in the race can stand up to the powers that be, why can’t the others? Donald J. Trump’s campaign declared he is “undecided” on the issue. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gave a vague, indirect answer about eminent domain earlier in the cycle, and his campaign has not responded to questions specific to the carbon capture pipelines.
My hope is Trump and DeSantis — and any other candidates — join Ramaswamy and Binkley in standing up for Iowans and standing against “powerful special interests.”
I mean, it’s a popular line in presidential stump speeches, right? Promises of fighting “for the people” and “against powerful special interests.”
What if instead of telling us they’ll do it they actually did it? This is an opportunity to prove it.
Now, not everyone cares about this issue. If you’re a voter who doesn’t care, then just ignore this issue as a factor in your support for the caucus.
But if you purport to care about private property rights, how can you caucus for a candidate who refuses to take a stand? If you really want to see the carbon capture pipeline projects stopped, how can you caucus for a candidate who abandoned you in that fight?
Trust me, they all know about this issue. Make no mistake, at this point silence is consent.
Consider this a warning. If Ramaswamy and Binkley are the only candidates to speak about this issue, and neither has a strong showing in the caucus, think about the ramifications.
It will show the issue of eminent domain and carbon capture pipelines isn’t an issue for Iowans at all. It certainly would show it isn’t a primary issue of concern for Iowans.
What message will it send to other politicians in Iowa? If Vivek publicly takes on Rastetter and the special interests and gets zero traction and zero momentum, do you think other politicians in Iowa are going to be emboldened to take them on in the future?
The answer is no.
Unless and until Trump and DeSantis join the fight, Iowans who honestly, deeply care about private property rights and eminent domain abuse need to re-evaluate their caucus night plan.