Steyer sinks as Iowa women rise

Ed Fallon is a former Iowa lawmaker who hosts the Fallon Forum and directs Bold Iowa. He is the author of Marcher, Walker, Pilgrim, his memoir about the 2014 Great March for Climate Action. -promoted by Laura Belin

I caught the tail end of Tom Steyer’s bait-and-switch press conference on January 9. With great flair and grandiosity, Steyer announced he wasn’t running for President. Instead, he’ll invest his time and money pounding the impeachment drum.

I’m ambivalent about whether Steyer runs for president. But if he could have picked a more poorly conceived cause than impeachment, I’m not sure what it would have been (maybe opposing continental drift?). If Democrats in the US House want to impeach President Trump, fine. But there’s not much any of us can do to impact what is largely a procedural undertaking.

Do I believe Donald Trump deserves impeachment? Absolutely! That and more. I occasionally find myself uttering the phrase “lock him up,” relishing the delicious irony of that prospect. But remember, if Trump is removed from office, the Democratic nominee for president will likely face Mike Pence — a potentially far more formidable opponent who is brighter than Trump yet likely to advance the same regressive, pro-corporate agenda.

Despite all its flaws, our democracy has survived two years of Donald Trump. We can probably hang on for another two years. If Democrats are smart enough not to nominate another status-quo candidate, Trump could soon be refining his golf game at Mar-a-Lago instead of creating constant chaos in the West Wing.

What’s saddest about Steyer’s shift is that he’d carved out such an important niche for himself. People knew him as “the rich guy who cares about climate change.” Why would he abandon his cutting-edge work on climate for any other priority, especially one as short-sighted as impeachment? Hopefully, Steyer will spend a couple hundred thousand of his vast fortune to hire consultants to give him better advice — or he can save his money and take my advice for free.

In other news, congratulations to Cindy Axne and Abby Finkenauer — Iowa’s newest members of Congress, and the first two women ever elected to the US House from Iowa. Both unseated Republican incumbents in competitive contests, helping assure the Democratic takeover of the US House and setting up a roadblock to some of the worst proposals coming out of the Trump administration.

Now the real work begins — not just for Axne and Finkenauer, but for us at the grassroots. If the favorable rhetoric we heard from Finkenauer and Axne on climate change during the campaign is to be matched by action, they need to join the 45 other House Democrats who have signed on to the Green New Deal. This proposal, championed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a broad, growing coalition, is the most far-reaching and comprehensive solution yet. As the urgency of climate change grows, we’re beyond the days when small steps and half-measures made sense. America needs an all-hands-on-deck strategy that fully mobilizes the power of government, business, and the grassroots to tackle the existential crisis of our times.

Across the state, supporters of Bold Iowa are talking with the three Democratic members of Iowa’s congressional delegation about the Green New Deal. I’d previously suggested we not waste our time lobbying Steve King. But now that King has a Republican primary opponent — State Senator Randy Feenstra — Iowans living in the Fourth District should approach both candidates about the Green New Deal.

I’ve had great feedback from some of my readers about conversations they’ve had with our congressional delegation. One thing is clear: We have a lot of work to do. None are yet on board. Let’s change that.

You need to signin or signup to post a comment.