A political divorce by @BloggersRUs

A political divorce

by Tom Sullivan

Andy McKean returned to the Iowa legislature after a fifteen-year absence. Starting in his late 20s, he'd served seven terms in the House and three in the Senate — 24 years in all — before returning to Jones County to serve as county supervisor and to see his kids through their teens.

The Republican caucus he found upon his return left him uncomfortable and isolated:

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.

I believe that his actions have coarsened political discourse, contributing to unprecedented polarization and creating a breeding ground for hateful rhetoric and actions.
"If this is the new normal, I want no part of it," McKean writes in The Atlantic.

The longest-serving Republican in Iowa filed for divorce from his political party on April 23 and became a Democrat:
"With the 2020 presidential election looming on the horizon, I feel, as a Republican, that I need to be able to support the standard bearer of our party," McKean said during a news conference at the Capitol. "Unfortunately, that's something I'm unable to do."
The Des Moines Register reported McKean's is not the first defection:
McKean is not the first Iowa lawmaker to cite Trump as a reason for leaving the Republican Party. Former Sen. David Johnson quit the Republican Party in 2016 in protest of Trump's candidacy. Johnson, who later registered as an independent, did not seek re-election in 2018.

Former Rep. Dawn Pettengill, a Republican from Mount Auburn, left the Democratic Party in 2007. She did not seek re-election in 2018
Such defections may not get much press and there may yet be too few Republicans of conscience willing to speak publicly (or even to pollsters), but they are out there.


Walter Shaub ran the U.S. Office of Government Ethics under President Obama. He resigned in protest in July 2017. Shaub is now a senior advisor to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

"My hobbies include screaming into the void and banging my head against a table," Shaub joked in a November interview.

CREW responded to one of the sitting president's many weekend tweets on Sunday:

The President of the United States just released an official statement calling an investigation by the American government into foreign interference in our election "treasonous" and hoping the people behind it "will pay." This is not how democracies work. https://t.co/Ba2Wmv4Z4Z

— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) May 12, 2019

Shaub responded personally:

How much do you have to hate the rule of law and the very concept of a republic to be the president who calls a lawful investigation of his conduct "treasonous"? The real betrayal of the nation is a president talking like he's a king.

— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) May 12, 2019

As great a betrayal of this country's principles are the many self-described patriots willing to be subjects. They are out there too.