Once every few election cycles we have the opportunity to elect a candidate whose existence in politics feels like a direct referendum on the failed governing we see in Washington. This November we have that opportunity with Theresa Greenfield in the race for U.S. Senate. Greenfield embodies a candidate of the forgotten Democratic Party, the party that has not gone anywhere but has been overshadowed by the outlandish characterizations coming from the well-funded campaigns of seasoned politicians.
One of whom is Joni Ernst, Greenfield’s challenger whose farm girl image began to fade when the Wall Street money came in. Super PACs supporting Ernst have done their best to characterize Greenfield as an extreme Leftist but the issues that Greenfield has embraced, like saving social security and protecting workers, can hardly be considered partisan at all. The Senate Leadership Fund, for example, has donated $3.3 Million in opposition to Greenfield and receives funding from private equity firms and dark money groups (OpenSecrets). It’s clear why they oppose Greenfield, they want the special interest hospitality that Senator Ernst provides.
The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly revealed to us the vulnerable conditions of modern workers. We rely on them to take risks. The least we could do is provide them the ability to advocate for their own safety. Theresa Greenfield knows this, and her experience as the widow of a worker killed on the job reflects how close to her heart these issues are. They are not just fodder for political points, they are issues that affect us and our loved ones, regardless of political affiliation.
Joni Ernst’s allegiance to President Trump’s ego over the wellbeing of the American people was most resonate in her repeating an unsubstantiated claim about COVID-19. Ernst and the President both know it’s a lie. To repeat these false claims about hospitals manipulating the numbers is not only dishonest, but it’s also profoundly irresponsible at a time when we cannot afford to be. Hospitals are doing everything they can right now keep up with the influx of patients and provide accurate diagnoses. As citizens, we look to our representatives to lead and minimize the damage of this pandemic, and what we get in return are politicians like Ernst who are essentially yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. We as Iowans can do better, and voting in November gives us that opportunity.
Timothy R. Miller, of Des Moines, formerly of Ottumwa.