Not Our Circus
Iowa Democrats spent their Saturday afternoon eating steak and dividing themselves among seventeen Democratic presidential candidates. Later in the day, seven miles away at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, Republicans were quietly meeting, hoping to give off an appearance of organization and unity.
Walking into the third annual Harvest Fest, a fundraiser for Governor Kim Reynolds, there was no steak present. Instead, the governor’s staff went for shredded pork and macaroni and cheese. Meanwhile, kids ran to the cotton candy line with their new balloon animals while their parents were most likely standing in line to shake hands with one of Iowa Republicans’ political dignitaries or Second Lady Karen Pence.
One-by-one each of the aforementioned Iowa celebrities starting with Senator Chuck Grassley and Senator Joni Ernst and followed by Governor Reynolds took the stage surrounded by straw bales and the backdrop of the American and Iowa flags. Each took time to speak about Iowa’s accomplishments over the past two years and stress the importance of reelecting Donald Trump to a second term.
The Steak Fry was not completely ignored and took a few blows when the senators and governor brought up policy ideas promoted by Democrats such as the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, and open borders. The speakers attempted to capture the irony of the Steak Fry as contrary to the culture of the Democratic party today. The officials scoffed at policy proposals such as reducing the environmental footprint of cows and one of the candidates choosing not to eat meat at all.
Karen Pence used her time as the keynote speaker to talk about the importance of family, highlight the work of military men and women in Iowa, and foster support for the Republican campaigns that have kicked off across the state. She continued the evening’s reoccurring theme of emphasizing the success Iowa has had under Republican leadership, warning attendees that the options Democrats are offering are the wrong route for Iowa and the nation.
The meeting of both the Republican and Democratic camps in Des Moines on Saturday sent very different signals to the media and guests in attendance. The Democratic Party still has a long way to go before they know who their party’s candidate will be. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump filed for reelection on inauguration day in 2017 and has a war chest of $200 million waiting for whichever candidate eventually emerges from the crowded Democratic field. The Republican party has coalesced around their candidate and is trying to demonstrate that they are prepared for the election that will begin after the Democrat’s circus has concluded.