The One Issue Iowa Most Wants The GOP Debate Candidates To Discuss
Iowa, unlike what some of you coast-dwellers may think, is not just a bunch of farmers worried about crop subsidies and hog prices — there's far more to the state and its people. In fact, they're a representative sample of the country as a whole, one of the reasons it's such a fitting place to kick off the presidential contest. So, when the GOP candidates debate an important issue to Iowans, it should resonate with the rest of the country too. Yes, the debate will surely focus on more than one issue, but if it were up to Iowans, ethanol and corn wouldn't be the topic to debate Thursday night. The one that would resonate the most is job creation and wage growth.
Last June, a Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll said 86 percent of Iowa Republicans thought job creation was something the candidates should spend more time talking about. Then, in an October Gallup poll, the economy in general, unemployment and jobs, lack of money, and wage issues all polled as problems with all voters — beaten only by "dissatisfaction with government." The focus on the economy has lessened somewhat among Republicans, to 72 percent, according to this month's Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll, but that's still a significant number.
National defense does poll slightly higher still in the Iowa Republican polls, but the candidates have had the opportunity to express their game plan on ISIS and other threats. (Ted Cruz's carpet bomb plan comes to mind.) Despite the GOP's Fox Business Network debates, the difference in plans (are there plans?) between the candidates to ensure a stronger economy and higher wages hasn't been clarified.
They might be able to attract more middle-of-the-road voters, too. Something highly connected with wage growth is economic inequality, and that's something that polls well with Democrats. In the same January Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register poll, among Democrats, the "gap between rich and poor" and the economy more broadly polled extremely high, with civil rights the only thing coming close.
Iowa allows caucus-goers to register with a party or even change their registration from Democrat to Republican on the day of the caucus, so if one of the candidates really hit it out of the park, he or she could draw some independents that are worried about wages and jobs who might otherwise decide to sit this one out.
Whether or not candidates give this serious a topic a go, they will surely make headlines. The Republicans — or at least most of them — are set to take to the stage Thursday night at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa. Donald Trump has said he may not attend in protest of Megyn Kelly, the Fox News anchor he can't seem to be nice to, and her role as a moderator; she will be joined by Bret Baier and Chris Wallace. The debate will be on Fox News beginning at 9 p.m. ET.
Tune and see if the Republicans have ideas — any actual ideas — to make this country great again. If jobs or wages come up, many an Iowan will be happy.