In Iowa, Florida, and elsewhere, Republicans have better choices than Trump

Ron DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at an event with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Friday, March 10, 2023, in Davenport, Iowa. (AP Photo/Ron Johnson) Ron Johnson/AP

In Iowa, Florida, and elsewhere, Republicans have better choices than Trump

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It would be too easy to rip to shreds a ridiculously biased March 20 Washington Post feature article lamenting that Iowa is becoming the “Florida of the North — without the beaches.”

There’s a broader lesson here, at least for Republicans, than merely cataloging the 57 millionth example of establishment media slanting stories to the port side. What the left-wingers who pass as reporters at the Washington Post intend as an indictment actually is a badge of honor for Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-IA). Iowa’s second-term chief executive has established a remarkably successful and sensible record of reform and prosperity, which is why the lefties are now verklempt.

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This is the same Reynolds who, in 2022, gave the tremendously well-received Republican response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address. In a more rational political environment, she would already be a major contender for president. As it is, by the time of the 2024 conventions, she will easily be one of the two or three most obvious options for the GOP vice presidential nomination.

Therein lies the lesson. If the histrionics of former President Donald Trump and the cultishness of at least some of his followers weren’t drawing so much attention, the public could benefit from, and Republicans could win, victories with a substantive “bench” of accomplished, attractive public servants.

Reynolds is one. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) is another. Of course, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) already has substantial support. Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley are both hyperambitious politicians but with real achievements to their names.

Two others who should be front and center but were chased from politics by Trump are former Sens. Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Pat Toomey (R-PA). And by 2028, I expect to see Sen. Katie Britt (R-AL), Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin, and Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) earning serious national notice.

Politically, each of these has the potential to inspire the Republican “base” while broadening Republican support among the tens of millions of people who are not political addicts or ideologues. Each could win bigger victories through persuasion and addition than Trump can possibly do by dividing and hoping to eke out a victory with hair’s-breadth pluralities in five or six contested states.

And why, anyway, should Republicans or conservatives be beholden to Trump? He barely defeated the most emotionally unattractive major-party nominee in history, Hillary Clinton. He made a mockery of the age-old Republican concern for debt and big government by enthusiastically becoming, even pre-pandemic, the biggest non-wartime spender in U.S. history. He bowed and scraped to North Korea’s lunatic dictator. He torpedoed the best chance to repeal Obamacare by calling his own party’s efforts “mean, mean, mean” and “a piece of s***.” He shut down the government for the longest time in history, not to save taxpayer money, but to get more money for his vaunted “wall,” only to end up with less money for the wall than Democrats originally offered.

And then, Trump helped foment a riot at the U.S. Capitol itself wherein, in part due to the mob’s interpretation of his own exhortations, hundreds yelled for execution of his own vice president.

Why would Republicans want more of that when there are proven vote-getters, such as Reynolds, who are fiscally responsible, keep taxes low, expand school choice and parental rights, fight against foisting age-inappropriate gender ideology upon children, and turn a toss-up state into a solidly Republican one?

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And again, she’s far from the only rising star.

Republicans should kick the loser Trump to the curb, or into another porn performer’s arms, and choose a standard-bearer from among the long list of impressive alternatives.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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