The 2008 presidential elections saw Iowa thrown into the spotlight. This battleground state changed its colors from red to blue. Dissatisfied with bumper crops and generally bad decisions, they decided to put their faith in a person who had promised to change the world: Barack Obama. Iowa was his launching pad to become the first Black president in US history. The degree of trust Iowans placed in him was unheard of in the state. But the need for change was getting through to them, and they were prepared to accept it.
After witnessing the mess he created following his election in 2008, they voted to let him clean it up in 2012 but with fewer votes. In both 2016 and 2020, Iowa voters went with Trump. This kind of swing-voting surprised many. Moreover, the fact that they voted Republican in 2004 after many years of being a blue state caught many off guard just as much as the blue swing of 2008.
Today, following two terms of growing Trump support, the left is experiencing a lot more difficulty in gaining backing than in previous years. With a majority of the population white, Iowa isn't an easy place for minority groups to win over. Following Obama’s unfulfilled promises and the economic boom Trump brought to Iowa, it became more difficult to find anyone who would back their cause.
This isn't to say that Iowans are racist. But the voting-age Democrats who have college degrees are mostly leaving the state in search of better job opportunities elsewhere. The majority of those who remain and are registered to vote within Iowa are white, working-class, blue-collar Americans and farmers. Therefore, when Deidre DeJear comes out of the shadows and runs for the governor's office as an African-American woman and Democrat, she faces an uphill struggle.
DeJear recognizes that this will be an uphill climb, but she is confident. She knows that her gender and race could make it difficult to convince voters to go for her. “Of course, nobody has ever stated that to me directly. However, there is the issue of whether a Black woman can be able to win. It's a valid issue… It is my belief in the possibility. We took a conscious decision that regardless of what your complexion was, no matter what your race, all [are students] and should be able to access an education that is of the highest quality.”
Of course, she is talking about the Iowa Supreme Court decision that was the first to abolish school segregation after the Civil War. The legacy of progressive politics is still present in the 21st century too. In 2009, the Iowa high court affirmed the concept that gay marriage was legal. This made them the third state to acknowledge these unions. This type of precedent can be a source of inspiration for DeJear.
She is aware of the changes that have been created in Iowa. She is aware of how divided the state's landscape has become and how drastically Democrats were able to change the political landscape within the state. After Obama was elected by gaining 52 of the 99 counties, Biden was able to secure only six. This sort of shift is due to a major change in the demographics of voting.
Union employment has been declining rapidly, and younger college students are moving out of Iowa in a jiffy. They will get better wages and job-advancement opportunities in more developed regions. As long as Iowa changes its policies, it will continue losing people, which is why the majority of voters aren't pushing to change the state. This was true even during the time of the pandemic when remote working was the most talked-about option across the United States.
Learning their lessons from eight years under Obama, Iowans who had been through some of the most difficult years in Iowa history aren't ready to accept changes all that fast. They are looking for concrete evidence that these changes will help them. Since the Republicans regained jobs, reduced taxes, and also preserved Iowa's morality through new laws on abortion, the public is more content than they have ever been. DeJear is free to try to change Iowa once more, but perhaps she should attempt to fit into the state’s culture first.