Letter to the editor – John Thompson

To the editor,

Fourth District Republicans met Saturday to elect delegates to the national convention and to pick the leadership of the state party for the next two years.  

Four years ago the Ron Paul campaign had a well-organized delegate grabbing strategy and used the opportunity to replace the board of directors. Insiders feared that the same strategy by the Cruz campaign may change the party leadership and lead to a dysfunctional organization.

The Cruz campaign managed to sweep the delegates across the state but most of the board remained the same. I was humbled to be the top vote-getter statewide as I was re-elected to the board along with the other three members serving in Fourth District. 

The delegate game in Iowa played out in the same way as it has across many states; a well organized strategy by Cruz swept 11/12 the spots to vote at the Republican national convention in Cleveland. They also won a majority of the committee that will determine the slate for the remaining spots up for grabs at state convention. The delegates are bound on the first vote to reflect the outcome of the February caucuses but afterwards they are free to vote their conscience. I don’t think the Trump campaign has dropped the ball on this. We are seeing record turnout in primaries and caucuses across the state. The Trump voters tend to be newbies to the process that have felt disenfranchised. New voters aren’t familiar with the procedures that take us through conventions.

On Caucus Night in Iowa many of the Trump voters left after casting their ballot. The Cruz people stayed to get elected to county convention. As the Cruz team has gained momentum they have picked up more and more of the traditional Republican activists and voters.  If Trump cannot lock up the nomination on the first vote he will have a tough time in Cleveland. 

The Trump voters have had interesting trends. In Massachusetts many blue collar and union voters either switched parties or showed up for the first time in a primary. If Trump can keep getting these demographics at the top of the ballot it gives the GOP some new opportunities. He could win states like Pennsylvania and Michigan. He could make Democrats fight for New York. He could also help some new places in Iowa go red.

In Iowa cities like Newton and Ottumwa the local people tend to be blue-collar conservatives. However, growing up in the union hall keeps them voting Democrat. I’ve been encountering more and more people at Republican rallies that had been family union folks who were being turned off by the hostility towards religion and family values among the Democrat leadership. They are equally upset and that the environmental kooks prevent new job opportunities like the Keystone XL pipeline. 

The GOP presidential nominee will change the organization and data we use to run our candidates in the state this cycle. It also puts Congressman Loebsack in a potentially awkward position. We fielded a traditionally Independent medical doctor, Christopher Peters, to run on our ticket. He is not as confrontational or stubborn as typical partisan candidates and his military service will go over well in the district. It will also give the party of Lincoln some more resources to fight in some key state Senate seats where Democrats currently have us with a 26-24 majority. We ceded no opportunities and have candidates in 23 of the 25 races. Democrats fielded 18. 

A Cruz campaign will likely follow the traditional Red-Blue states as a baseline and we will all fight for the swing states. Along the way Hillary will secure the nomination in what appears as a christening that leaves all the Bernie Sanders supporters reeling at home. The Democratic chairwoman will continue to give us gifts like when she was asked why Democrats have super delegates.

“[Super] delegates exist really to make sure that party leaders and elected officials don’t have to be in a position where they are running against grassroots activists.” 

She’s the best DNC chair Republicans have ever had. I like our chances in November. 

~John Thompson, Jefferson


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