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Sunday, October 14, 2018

Iowa Democrats only are endorsed: Vote Blue and here is why!

When Republicans achieved the trifecta in 2016, winning the presidency as well as holding the House and Senate, it seemed the country was poised to move beyond the GOP-engineered partisan gridlock that had characterized much of the previous six years.

Americans had reason to expect action from Congress, for better or worse, on a variety of issues ranging from health care and immigration to reducing government overspending.

Not so much, as it turned out. The Republican majority in Congress tried and failed to dismantle the Affordable Care Act without offering a plan of their own that a majority of their own members — let alone a majority of the American people — could support. Instead, Republicans have allowed the health system to become increasingly unstable, leading to a lack of competition and rising premiums.

Republicans in Congress have not only failed at comprehensive immigration reform, but their action allowed protection to expire on young, undocumented Americans brought here as children. They haven’t even fully funded Trump’s border wall. They stood by as the administration tried to bar Muslims from certain countries from entering the United States. 

Instead, Republicans looked the other way as the administration shocked and dismayed the nation by separating young children from their parents at the border, holding them in detention and losing track of some of the kids.

Republicans promised fiscal responsibility, yet they have punted on putting the nation back on sound financial footing. Their one major legislative success, the 2017 tax cut, is projected to add $1.9 trillion to the debt. This, after Republicans howled endlessly about the comparatively meager deficits created during the Obama administration. The Congressional Budget Office said in August that these tax cuts and spending increases would become “unsustainable” if extended. But the House GOP, including Iowa’s three Republican representatives, voted last month for another $3.8 trillion in tax cuts.

The Republican majority has twiddled its thumbs while President Trump started a trade war with China, imposing tariffs and provoking retaliation that is hurting Iowa farmers by threatening export markets. They have even allowed the Farm Bill to expire, leaving town without resolving differences.

Some have argued that this election should be a referendum on President Trump. We disagree. This is about Congress, which has abdicated much of its constitutional duty and has failed to provide a check and balance to the executive branch.

Not only has the party failed to act as a check on the president, key Republicans have been complicit in trying to obstruct and undermine the investigation of a foreign power’s interference in a U.S. election. And by their silence they have tacitly endorsed the president’s racism, misogyny, white nationalism, divisiveness and crudity.

In becoming the party of Trump, the Republicans have forsaken traditional conservatism and given voters no rational alternative to the Democrats. The party needs to be voted out of power and spend a few years becoming again the party of Lincoln, not the party of Trump.

The Register’s editorial board normally considers each congressional race individually before making endorsements. We interview the candidates, if possible, and review their backgrounds and public positions. We consider character and the candidate’s depth of understanding of issues. We have been known, at times, to endorse a candidate we disagree with on issues rather than one we doubt could follow through on promised change.

We went through the same process this year, although no Republican incumbents chose to meet with us. Some of the challengers are more prepared than others. We were especially impressed by Republican Christopher Peters’ growth as a second-time challenger to Rep. Dave Loebsack in the 2nd District.

But the stakes are too high this year to worry about whether some candidates have sufficiently detailed agendas or know enough about how some parts of the government work. Nothing short of a change in party leadership in Congress will move this country forward. That’s why we’re recommending that Iowa voters send home Reps. Rod Blum, David Young and Steve King and return Rep. Dave Loebsack to the House.

Democrat Abby Finkenauer, who is challenging Blum, is a 29-year-old state representative from Dubuque. She’s run a highly competitive race against Blum, the two-term incumbent, and has demonstrated a solid grasp of issues facing the district. If Finkenauer wins, she’ll be one of the youngest women ever elected to Congress.

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