Iowa Republicans have not had a contested statewide primary since 2002. What occurred then is a lot like what we see today. Republicans never seemed to unite around the nominees following that primary. A lot of that had to do with how close the gubernatorial primary was that year. Doug Gross avoided a convention by the narrowest of margins. Less than 8,500 votes separated Gross, the winner, from Bob Vander Plaats, who finished in third place.
Some have made this primary out to be a civil war within the Republican Party in Iowa. I don’t necessarily believe that to be the case, in fact, I think that the people who say that only do so to motivate the supporters of a certain campaign. I think primaries are a healthy exercise. I think the reason why things seem to get so heated at times is because we have not had many contested primaries in the past. Yes, there will be winner and losers, but that’s how the game is played and scored.
While I think its good for a winner in all of these races to be declared, I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that I’m concerned about what takes place after the primary is over. I’m not worried about any of the candidates. I think the winners will be as gracious as the losers. What concerns me is how will some of the supporters of some particular candidates act.
Will they take their ball and go home if their candidate doesn’t win?
They are entitled to do that. This isn’t necessarily something that would concern me, there are far more unproductive things that they could do.
Will they become angry and work against the Republican nominee because their candidate didn’t win?
Nothing productive comes of this. In fact it helps the Democrats.
My concerns are not only limited to those whose candidate doesn’t prevail.
Will the supporters of the nominee extend an olive branch to those who backed a different candidate, or will they act like sports fans in a bar watching a football game, ribbing the fans of the other team when they score a touchdown?
I think how the supporters of each of these candidates conducts themselves is far more important than how the candidates themselves act. I think we all need to remember that regardless of what happens in just over 10 days, life under the control of the Democrats sucks. We might not get everything we want in a candidate, but it will be far better than what Chet Culver offers us.
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