ICYMI: Des Moines Register (Opinion): Iowa Democrat and Iowa Republican: Trump’s threat to democracy goes beyond party lines

As Donald Trump rallies across Iowa today on the anniversary of the deadly insurrection he incited, former Republican Congressman Jim Leach and former Democratic Congressman Dave Loebsack penned a joint op-ed reminding Iowans of the imminent danger Trump poses to the future of America’s democracy as he continues to threaten the founding principles of our country.

Des Moines Register (Opinion): Iowa Democrat and Iowa Republican: Trump’s threat to democracy goes beyond party lines

By Dave Loebsack and Jim Leach

  • In 2006, we ran against each other for Congress in Iowa’s 2nd District — Dave as a Democrat and Jim a Republican. We both ran spirited campaigns, running on our visions for a better America. Though we differed on policy, there were no doubts that we both loved our state and our country and were fighting to make it as great as we believed it could be.

  • Throughout that cycle, no matter who would go on to win that race in 2006, there was never a question of whether we would accept the results of the election because we knew that respecting and upholding America’s free and fair elections are the very bedrock of our democracy. The principles of our democracy aren’t Republican or Democratic issues — they’re as fundamental an American value as truth, freedom, and justice.

  • But this anniversary of the violent insurrection on our nation’s Capitol is a solemn reminder of how fragile the foundations of democracy are when extremists like Donald Trump are willing to undermine millions of voters and encourage a deadly mob all in the name of wielding power.

  • Jan. 6, 2021, was one of the darkest days in our nation’s history. The peaceful transition of power is something that many of us have taken for granted, but Trump couldn’t stomach the fact that he lost to Joe Biden. That a president of the United States would encourage his supporters to storm the United States Capitol is reprehensible behavior from the leader of the free world. But not only did Trump’s actions that day enable a riot that took the people’s lives and nearly shattered a pillar of our nation — he’s shamelessly laying the groundwork to attack our democracy once again.

  • You don’t have to just take that from us. Three years later, Trump is here in Iowa pushing the same unfounded big lie that caused the attempted insurrection. Trump is promising to pardon many of those convicted for storming the Capitol if he gets the chance and believes that these criminals are “great patriots.”

  • Rather than working to repair the damage done to our democracy, he’s doubled down on his support for autocracy. At his rallies, he has heaped praise on brutal dictators like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un and even said he would be a dictator for a day if he got reelected. While this behavior might seem par for the course from Trump by now, we cannot let this become normal. Let’s be clear, there is nothing less American than what Trump enabled on Jan. 6 and threatening revenge on one’s political enemies is absolutely anti-American.

  • From our times in Washington, we can tell you that there are no shortage of political issues where it’s in the best interest of the American people to put aside the party politics to forge a path forward. The endurance of democracy is an issue that supersedes partisan lines, and anyone running to be the commander in chief should embody that value. Donald Trump does not. Trump has already done enough lasting damage to the fabric of our country — he cannot be given another chance to tear away at it any further. The future of our nation depends on it.