Not long after the 2018 midterm elections, four Republican Kansas state legislators switched parties to become Democrats. It didn’t turn into a tidal wave, as some people had hoped, but on Sunday, the longest-serving Republican in the Iowa state legislature joined them.
Representative Andy McKean served seven terms in the Iowa House before leaving to become the Jones County supervisor. In 2017, he returned to the state legislature and noticed that things had changed.
The legislature is considerably more partisan and regimented than it used to be. I believe the increased partisanship often stands in the way of good legislation, and I’m also deeply concerned by the growing influence that big money exerts on the legislative process.
I also found a very changed Republican caucus. While I have great respect and personal regard for my Republican colleagues, I found myself more and more uncomfortable with the stance of my party on the majority of high-profile issues, such as gutting Iowa’s collective-bargaining law and politicizing our method of selecting judges. I worked for changes to improve legislation that I had concerns about, but also voted against many of these priorities.
Having to support the Republican standard-bearer in the 2020 presidential race was the final straw.
I believe that it is just a matter of time before our country pays a heavy price for President Donald Trump’s reckless spending and shortsighted financial policies; his erratic, destabilizing foreign policy; and his disdain and disregard for environmental concerns.
Furthermore, he sets a poor example for the nation and our children. He delivers personal insults, often in a crude and juvenile fashion, to those who disagree with him, and is a bully at a time when we’re attempting to discourage bullying, on- and offline.
In addition, he frequently disregards the truth and displays a willingness to ridicule or marginalize people for their appearance, ethnicity, and disability.
What I have found to be the most vexing concern of the Trump era is that so many of our fellow Americans—not to mention elected officials—are willing to give the president a pass on his dangerous policies, bullying tactics, rampant lying, and xenophobia.
Having even one Republican who is willing to stand up and say, “no more” is worth celebrating. But the truth is that, in a rational world, there would be a flood of people doing so. The great shame of the GOP is that there aren’t more Andy McKeans.