'If This Is the New Normal, I Want No Part of It'

Iowa State Rep. Andy McKean leaving GOP, cites Trump as a big part of his reasoning
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2019 1:32 PM CDT
Iowa's Longest-Serving GOP Lawmaker Ditching Party
Iowa Rep. Andy McKean, right, the longest serving Republican in the Iowa Legislature says he's becoming a Democrat during a news conference at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Tuesday, April 23, 2019.   (AP Photo/David Pitt)

An Iowa lawmaker's exit from the Republican Party is making national headlines, largely because of his reasoning. State Rep. Andy McKean will register as a Democrat because he feels that "I need to be able to support the standard bearer of our party," and "unfortunately, that's something I'm unable to do," McKean said in reference to President Trump during a Tuesday news conference. McKean joined the Iowa House of Representatives in 1979 and has spent almost 29 of the following years in the legislature, making him Iowa's longest-serving Republican state lawmaker. He was harsh and detailed in his reasoning. Standout lines as reported by the Washington Post:

  • "Unacceptable behavior should be called out for what it is, and Americans of all parties should insist on something far better in the leader of their country and the free world."
  • "[Trump] sets, in my opinion, a poor example for the nation and particularly for our children by personally insulting, often in a crude and juvenile fashion, those who disagree with him, being a bully at a time when we're attempting to discourage bullying."

  • "I believe his actions have coarsened political discourse, have resulted in unprecedented divisiveness, and have created an atmosphere that is a breeding ground for hateful rhetoric and actions. Some would excuse this behavior as 'telling it like it is' and the new normal. If this is the new normal, I want no part of it."
  • The Des Moines Register points out that McKean referenced Trump as only part of his decision. His choice also involves the party in general, which he discovered "has veered very sharply to the right." McKean left politics in 2003 but ran again in 2016 and was reelected two years later.
  • The AP reports McKean intends to change his registration later this week when he's home and will run for reelection as a Democrat.
  • Republicans will maintain a 53-member majority, but the chair of the Republican Party of Iowa is still peeved. "When he was running for office a mere five months ago, he made a commitment to the voters of District 58, running on the Republican platform," said Jeff Kaufmann of McKean. "Today, he has violated the trust of the voters" in Anamosa.
  • CNN points out that while former President Obama took the state in both 2008 and 2012, it has "shifted rapidly in Republicans' favor in recent years," so much so that Trump won Iowa by almost 10 percentage points. "If Iowa is in play in 2020, it would be a sign that the Midwest had slipped away from the President."
(Something similar happened in Iowa in 2016.)

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