How the GOP Flipped Me Blue

Party before country does not equal patriotism. In fact, it’s the opposite.

Erika Anne Sauter
Feb 24 · 4 min read
A screenshot of a text message I received from Iowa Republican Governor Kim Renyolds’ reelection campaign

m not sure how I ended up on the list of who Governor Reynolds’ fundraising team bombards with emails, phone calls and text messages, but I know that her 2022 reelection campaign pitch is gross.

How does the divisive rhetoric in the above text message benefit Iowans? I don’t have an answer because when I replied to the message asking just that, a bot immediately shot back with, “Unable to understand input,” like any true Trump worshiper would.

“Radical left” is a trigger phrase used intending to keep Trump supporters awake and ready for when they’re called upon again. It’s a manipulative tactic, and we’re all watching it happen.

My husband is adamant about sticking it out as a registered Republican. He believes that the United States Senate Republican Party of seven will somehow lead the entire GOP back to sanity. I’m not at all convinced.

I believe one party is trying to save us while the other couldn’t care less if we’re dead.

He and I see things differently. As a native Iowan, he feels it’s his duty to remain loyal to the Republican Party. Rural Iowa ideology dictates voting by party, not based on the best candidate. He’s part of a generational warped notion that party before country equals patriotism.

It doesn’t matter that he morally disagrees with the GOP’s agenda and that he’s angry with their actions. Rural Iowa = red. Catholic= conservatism.

I began questioning my loyalty to my civic duty as a voter during the 2016 presidential election when Donald Trump won the Republican Party nomination. Candidates dropped out, one by one, before and during the primaries, and it left me wondering, ‘how are people actually voting for him?’

The day after he won the election was the only time my husband and I had an argument where we raised our voices toward one another.

“Give Trump a chance!” He wailed. “We need to support our president.”

“I’ll pass on supporting a bigot and the destruction of our country!” I roared back.

During Trump’s totalitarian reign, hate spread across the country like wildfire, bringing every neo-Nazi and conspiracy theorist to the surface. Even though it’s four years later and he’s finally out of office, the rage lives on.

It’s not just about the behavior of our elected officials, and it’s not because the Trump loyalist agenda hijacked an entire political party. I expect it from politicians.

However, it doesn’t end there. The danger of the GOP has its own trifecta affect: It’s infested our federal and state governments, and the voters. It’s the fact that a portion of American citizens are okay with it. They support it.

The most disturbing thing about Marjorie Taylor Greene is that enough people in Georgia’s 14th District voted to elect her.

A citizen conspiracist who was “stewing about the government” and believed the Rothchild family are shape-shifting lizard aliens blew himself and Nashville up on Christmas morning.

And the list goes on and on. Once considered “radicalized,” the GOP’s dangerous conspiracy ideology is now commonplace in American culture.

ince the age of 18, I’ve never aligned with a political party. Whether it be local, state, presidential, run-off or special election, I’ve always voted for who I believed would do the best job for the people. I did the research. I paid attention.

This changed between the June primary and November general election while I was covering the 2020 campaign season in Eastern Iowa, specifically after a derecho demolished the state in August.

While the Iowa GOP had their candidates posing for unmasked photo ops, waving in parades and sponsoring Facebook ads, our local, state and U.S. Democrat party nominees slept in the rubble with the people while helping them recover.

I watched and reported as Ivy Schuster, Ruby Bodecker, and Sarah Smith cleared debris from roadways and rooftops, made sure Iowans had water and food, and organized fundraisers to fill the gapping holes in the side of school buildings.

U.S. congressional representative for Iowa’s 1st District, Abby Finkenauer, the youngest person to flip a congressional seat in Iowa, returned home from her honeymoon because of the natural disaster and remained with her constituents in order to support them.

When election day rolled around, those same people Finkenauer helped voted to unseat her, making way for Republican Ashley Hinson. She’s splattered on national headlines for voting against COVID-19 relief for the American people because, “Iowa shouldn’t have to bail out blue states.”

Hinson thinks not helping each other is a solid plan for the country to recover from an ongoing nationwide catastrophe, but hey, voters chose this, so we’re good, right?

No.

By the general election, I switched my voter registration from “no-party” to Democrat, and for the first time I voted solid blue. They earned my vote. The GOP didn’t.

I want to live in the America that Iowa’s 2020 Democratic Party nominees believe in — grassroots, hardworking, and bold. Their values represent service before self and an understanding that equality creates a unified connection and strengthens us as a whole. It’s unfortunate that the Trump Loyalist party considers decency a “radical left agenda” and not something we should all strive for.

Regardless of Finkenauer, Schuster, Bodeker and Smith working their campaign asses off and losing, they’re still out there working their native Iowan asses off for the greater good of communities.

Meanwhile, I and many other electors who voted blue are still waiting for our seated GOP politicians, who are more focused on suppressing voter rights than our wellbeing, to respond to our phone calls and emails.

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Erika Anne Sauter

Written by

Behavioral science ed/ reporter in Eastern Iowa. Informed and opinionated. My hobbies include petting cats, research & farming.

Politically Speaking

We all view the world through a unique lens. Politics is in literally everything from our churches to our social organizations to news events and crime to our governments. This is the place to share your view, regardless of your political leanings: all are welcome.

Erika Anne Sauter

Written by

Behavioral science ed/ reporter in Eastern Iowa. Informed and opinionated. My hobbies include petting cats, research & farming.

Politically Speaking

We all view the world through a unique lens. Politics is in literally everything from our churches to our social organizations to news events and crime to our governments. This is the place to share your view, regardless of your political leanings: all are welcome.

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