Seth takes a closer look at the president lying about his poll numbers after a speech in Iowa, where farmers are hurting from his trade policies.
The Iowa congressman has been saying offensive things for years but many of his supporters don’t seem concerned.
The Republicans in Des Moines and Washington are doing what they can to run away from and run off Representative Steve King, the Republican from my district, for yet more of his outlandish remarks over white supremacy, nationalism and western civilization — remarks that simply echo things he has said many times over the past two decades in my paper, The Storm Lake Times.
.. A Republican State Senator, Randy Feenstra, a professor at Dordt College with solid Christian conservative credentials, has said he will challenge Mr. King in the 2020 primary. Mr. Feenstra said he stands with President Trump but is not as “caustic” as Mr. King and will not embarrass ever-polite Iowans. Other Republicans are pondering primary runs, too, thinking that condemnation at the hands of the party elite may give them a rare opening.
Not so fast. Mr. King may be wounded, but he remains popular here.
.. “They can’t change my mind about him,” said Cathy Greenfield, a dog groomer adamantly opposed to abortion who lives with her husband, Larry, a teacher and auto body mechanic, in the village of Fonda just east of Storm Lake. “The left has been after him forever. I don’t think he’s a racist. I think he will be successful.”
.. She is not even prepared to consider Mr. Feenstra or anyone else. Ms. Greenfield trusts Steve King, now serving his ninth term.
The same goes for Sue Guntren of Storm Lake, who with her husband, Robert, proudly plants a huge red “KING” sign every two years in her yard along Lake Avenue, the main drag. “We’re sticking with him,” she said. “I’ve never really heard what he did was that bad.”
.. Eric Mosbo took a break from his Snapper dealership to reflect on his support for Mr. King. “I don’t care what the topic is, you have to be able to have an honest discussion about it. King was trying to defend the merits of Western Civilization, not white supremacy. Since only a snippet of his comments were used and the interview wasn’t recorded, the message was twisted around to project an incorrect quote. Reporting events and comments are hard work and the need to be correct is huge.”
.. The congressman has made lots of outrageous remarks over the years. He joked about immigrants being “dirt.” Like Mr. Trump, hebroadly describes Latinos as drug runners and criminals. He said he doesn’t expect to meet any gay people in heaven.
.. Most supporters write it off as “Steve being Steve,” or as the media unfairly being on his case. His son banned or ejected reporters, including from The Des Moines Register, The Storm Lake Times and other publications, from the congressman’s election-night rally, calling them left-wing propagandists.
Democratic leaders in Iowa, the starting line for the party’s wide-open 2020 presidential contest, are hungry for a young standard-bearer who will usher in generational change, which is erecting a potential roadblock for the three best-known prospective contenders for the nomination.
.. Of the 76 Democratic county party leaders who responded to the survey, 43 said they would prefer a young candidate. They said they want a fresh face and expressed interest in potential candidates who haven’t run for president before. They yearn for a nominee with the energizing charisma of President Barack Obama to counter President Donald Trump’s rowdy base. Most said gender wouldn’t be a determining factor.
.. Those are hurdles that could trip up three of the best-known potential candidates, former Vice President
- Joe Biden, and Sens.
- Bernie Sanders of Vermont and
- Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts,
each of whom will be at least 70 years old when Iowa Democrats caucus in February 2020.
“They’re all too old,” said Chris Henning, the 71-year-old Democratic chairwoman in Greene County. “It’s not white bread America any more, we’ve got to get with the program.”.. “We have to look for the Barack Obama scenario for the party,” said Bryce Smith, the 26-year-old Democratic chairman in Dallas County, a booming Des Moines suburb that is the fifth-fastest growing county in the nation, with a 32% population increase from 2010 to 2017. “I can’t see how my generation, 18- to 34-year-olds, can get excited about a 70-year-old candidate ever again.”.. He said he is intrigued by Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who narrowly lost a Senate race to Republican Ted Cruz. “Beto, he sounds and talks like he’d be Barack Kennedy,” Mr. Smith said, suggesting that Mr. O’Rourke had charisma akin to Mr. Obama or the Kennedys... New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.. When Ms. Harris, 54 years old, appeared recently in Cedar Rapids, “I got calls from people in counties 100 miles away” hoping to attend.. The clamor for a generational change may take its harshest toll on the 77-year-old Mr. Sanders if he decides to run again...Ms. Warren, who will turn 70 in June, declined to run for president in 2016 despite a high-profile effort to draft her into the race. The delay may wind up hurting her chances in 2020... Some said they might make an exception for Mr. Biden, a 76-year-old who was still in demand as a campaign surrogate during this year’s midterms. One person defined “young” as “less than mid-70s.”
Many people don’t even know these scandals exist — they generally don’t lead in Sean Hannity’s or Tucker Carlson’s world.
.. One smaller manufacturer — a Trump voter — told me that his costs to produce his product nearly doubled overnight, and that his business has already been hurt by the tariffs. Prices didn’t rise only after the tariffs were announced; they started rising when Mr. Trump floated the idea.
.. Senator Joni Ernst and Iowa’s agriculture secretary, Mike Naig, both say the tariffs will hurt Iowans, and Mr. Naig says we need to expand markets, not shrink them. Senator Chuck Grassley said something similar, on Fox News: “Tariffs do not put America first — low barriers and expanded access do.”
.. China has already responded with its own tariff on pork, which will have a dire impact on Iowa. Iowa is the nation’s largest pork producer, producing three times as much pork as the next-highest state.
.. with commodity prices down and the tariffs imposed, approximately 10 percent of our farmers probably won’t make it this year, and 10 percent more will likely fail next year. They also shared the news that in Iowa, larger agribusinesses are buying up smaller farms that are in financial trouble, and that people are starting to make comparisons to the farm crisis of the 1980s, when approximately 10,000 Iowa farmers lost their farms.
.. Even Representative Steve King, the avid Trump supporter and Iowan every liberal loves to hate, is worried about a new farm crisis.
.. Dairy farmers are particularly hard hit, suffering through four years of declining prices. It’s gotten so bad, dairy farming organizations are giving out suicide hotline numbers, as farmers are committing suicide in the hope that their insurance will save the family farm.
.. “It gives Democrats a generational opportunity to do the political work with farmers they haven’t done since the 1980s farm crisis,”
.. “Democrats do farm policy really well but are terrible at farm politics. Republicans do farm politics really well but have a history of doing terrible farm policy.”
.. With the multiple scandals, rampant corruption and the Mueller investigation, the only thing keeping him near 40 percent approval — and most important, approval among most Republicans — is a strong economy. That, and Fox cheerleading. But if he tanks the rural economy, he and his legacy are in deep trouble.
.. Furthermore, if the rural economy turns sour, much of rural America will abandon Mr. Trump, and Fox may have no choice but to follow.