Since 2012, Iowa has largely been a Democratic state that votes Republican on occasion. Former Democratic Senator Tom Harkin’s political legacy is still a huge deal. Three of Iowa’s five representatives in Congress were Democrats. Iowa used to have a solid Republican social conservatism, but it also had a robust Democratic pragmatism.
Iowa had voted twice for Barack Obama when the battle stopped in November of 2012. The state Senate was dominated by Democrats. As a result of an unfavorable Democratic incumbent falling to a well-known and well-liked Republican former governor in 2010, the state has enjoyed 12 consecutive years of Republican governors. At the start, the 2014 Senate race between Republican Joni Ernst and Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley was also seen as a barn-burner. Ernst’s landslide victory was, to put it mildly, a shocker.
That’s all changed since 2016. It’s pretty improbable that anyone anticipated this. Hillary Clinton’s sudden cancellation of events and withdrawal of resources from Iowa in the fall of 2016 came as quite a shock. Even more shocking was the nearly 10-point setback she suffered…