Iowa GOP Primary in a Nut Shell

Like the Pony Express roaring out of a cloud of dust, the GOP candidates came last week, promising to return the U.S. to the 1880s.

In this Great March Back to the Past, there are only a few things you need to know about the GOP candidates as they change positions, jockey for advantage and pontificate endlessly to promote guns, to cut taxes for the rich, to hate for gays and immigrants, and to end government regulations and programs.

Each candidate proclaims himself a purer reactionary and better dismantler of our government, making it hard to stand out in the race to this bottom.

The top polling candidate Donald Trump, or Mr. Combover, wasn’t in attendance, having decided he didn’t like being questioned by a woman. Eight out of ten of his supporters have a high school education and most have never voted before. Why people support a multi-billionaire is puzzling.

Maybe they think Trump is just like them, as he moves between his $100 million condo on Fifth Ave., his other 40 apartments in NYC, his $250 million Palm Beach Palace, his 60 room Bedford, N.Y. summer retreat, the 23,000 sq. ft. mansion in Virginia, or his 10,000 sq. ft. Beverly Hills mansion. Or maybe they are just wannabes who worship wealth?

Maybe his uneducated, white male supporters like his sons because they shoot exotic African animals and kill birds for fun? Or do they hate Mexicans and support Trump’s plan to deport 11 million Mexicans? Or maybe they like his message that climate change is a hoax, police need more power, and if there is less government, they will all become rich?

Next in line to nip at Trump’s popularity comes Ted Cruz, known as the most hated man in the Senate. He promises to turn America on it’s head, carpet bomb the Middle East, provide free guns to every white American, allow the rape of the environment, and abolish Social Security, Medicare, the Federal Reserve, the IRS, and other government functions, if he can remember them. Conservative white Christians love him because he will replace the Pledge of Allegiance with the Lord’s Prayer.

Rubio, another knight in shining armor, promises to ban gay marriage, do away with corporate regulations, increase the prison population, ban pot, cut educational funding, turn U.S. transportation over to private companies, choose Jesus as his vice president, abolish property taxes, and cut taxes on the rich. He doesn’t say whether he will stop stealing funds from his political campaign or taking secret personal loans from his billionaire handlers.

And the beat goes on: Rand Paul wants to balance the budget and give voting rights to fetuses, Ben Carson wants to do away with civil rights and send U.S. troops to the Baltics. Kasich wants to bomb Iran and take care of the mentally ill, which will kill his chances of a GOP nomination. And Christie? Christie just looks like the fat bully on the playground when you were in the sixth grade. In the last debate, he bemoaned not being able to get his wife on the phone during 9/11, and if she’d been killed, he didn’t want to get stuck with the kids.

Considered a front runner a century ago, Jeb Bush fumbles along with a frog in his voice. Any minute you expect him to come clean and admit that he got his brother elected by manipulating the Florida courts, leading to the most disastrous presidency since Herbert Hoover.

Is there any wonder that Americans will believe anything? Ben Carson thinks the Egyptians built the pyramids to store grain and has a photo of himself and Jesus; an Oklahoma GOP candidate claims gays should be stoned to death; Scott Walker says he’s part of “God’s plan”; and Carly Fiorina believes women should remain silent in church and be submissive. It appears Americans will believe anything. Half of Americans don’t know Judaism came before Christianity, 51% don’t believe that evolution occurred, 20% believe the sun revolves around the earth, 20% knows someone abducted by aliens, and 75% of Republicans believe in “One Nation Under Jesus.” Half of our Congress people deny global warming, while 33% believe in ghosts and vast numbers believe in witchcraft, ESP, and other supernatural phenomena.

But a puzzle arises over importance the state of Iowa to choose presidential candidates. Iowa is not representative of America. Some 80% of the precincts are rural, while 19% of the U.S. is rural. Almost 92% of the population is white, while white people represent 77% of the U.S. With Iowa’s Fruit Cake Derby and Americans’ fungible beliefs, anything can happen.

Don Monkerud is an California-based writer who follows cultural, social and political issues. He is the author of America Unhinged: Politics and Pandemic in the 2020 Election (2021). He can be reached at: Read other articles by Don.