In the column, Rubin suggests that Iowa Republicans would be smart to primary Ernst with a principled conservative, since Ernst has clearly abandoned the cause.
And, perhaps most significantly, Rubin comes to the conclusion that if Ernst is not willing to break from destructive D.C. politics, her Senate seat is up for the taking in 2020.
WASHINGTON POST: Republicans sound like they haven’t learned a thing
“Take Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a bright and well-liked freshman, who will be up for reelection in two years. Despite her authoritative voice as a veteran, she cannot bring herself to criticize Trump for his blatant misuse of the military. Her “Face the Nation” interview was painful to watch as she tried to avoid getting crosswise with the president.”
“You cannot help but think how justifiably outraged the late senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) would be about a president using troops as props. But Ernst is no maverick.
She was no more courageous on the GOP’s problem with women.”
“She isn’t even able to defend her state’s economic interests:
BRENNAN: I want to ask you about something that really impacts your home state. The vice president said today- and he’s in Asia, that the U.S. is not in a rush to end this trade dispute with China, suggesting that things might not get resolved when President Xi and Trump sit down in just a few weeks. There was a $12 billion bailout for farmers, to help alleviate some of this pain. Will you need another one?
ERNST: I am hopeful that we will not need another subsidy program for our farmers. Our farmers would much rather grow their goods and make sure that they are getting out to the rest of the world. Absolutely. But I’ve done a number of farmer roundtables all across the state of Iowa and at the last one I held, the very last speaker, a- a middle aged farmer, he-he stood up and said I understand why President Trump is doing this; however, what I don’t understand is why someone didn’t do it sooner. So they understand–
BRENNAN: The pain is tolerable for now?
ERNST: The pain is tolerable for now. I want to see these trade deals done. I’d rather see them done sooner, rather than later, but we have to get a good deal with China or it’s all for naught.
Why should her state endure any pain as a result of Trump’s misguided policies?
Ernst may have missed the lesson of the 2018 midterms.”
“Unless Ernst can figure this out and start putting distance between herself and the toxic president, she’ll be a sitting duck in 2020. The junior senator from Iowa who once made a splash with her castrating pigs ad vowing to fight corruption once in office never called for a full investigation of conflicts of interest, foreign emoluments or any issue touching on corruption now endemic in the administration. She appears to be just another Trump enabler.
Some savvy Republican(s) might mount a primary challenge, offering himself or herself as an independent conservative who’ll put fighting corruption and the interests of Iowa first — and stop dancing around hard issues because truth-telling might upset Trump. If Republicans don’t come up with an independent-minded candidate willing to stand up to Trump when needed, Democrats should put Iowa high on the list of winnable Senate seats for 2020.”