Vander Plaats predicts ‘wave’ election for conservatives
Conservative leader Bob Vander Plaats said Monday the Nov. 4 election will be a “wave” election that repudiates President Obama’s “leftist” agenda.
He said GOP majorities in the U.S. and Iowa Senates will be ushered in and will be expected to lead on family and freedom issues over the next two years.
Vander Plaats made the prediction at the kickoff of a statewide “Standing for the American Family” bus tour he said was designed to energize Iowa’s conservative base and target disgruntled independents fed up with actions by the courts and elected officials moving the country in the wrong direction.
“I think we have a history of moving numbers,” said Vander Plaats, head of the Iowa-based Family Leader. “We’re trying to get out here to let our base know this is an important election. If the people in the state are any bit disinterested, let’s capitalize on that disinterest by being interested and getting the people in who we want to get in.”
The large blue bus is slated to travel to 10 cities in Iowa during a statewide “whistle-stop” tour that culminates in Sioux City Thursday at the site of U.S. Senate debate between Republican Joni Ernst and Democrat Bruce Braley. Other sponsors include the Faith Family Freedom Fund, an affiliate of Family Research Council Action PAC and the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).
“When big political decisions are to be made, the eyes of the country come to Iowa. We know that,” said Connie Mackey, a leader of the Washington-based FRC Action PAC. “We hope Joni Ernst will take out Harry Reid and be one of the six or seven seats that we need” to take control of the U.S. Senate.
Vander Plaats said this election cycle is “probably the most optimistic” his organization has been “for a long time” regarding pro-family and pro-freedom issues.
“I think the country is waking up to the leadership that’s been going on in Washington and the left’s agenda, and I think the election is going to be a complete repudiation of these anti-family policies and we’re going to put in right people to start turning the course and righting the ship,” he said.
“I think it’s going to be a wave election. I think it’s going to be a complete repudiation of Obama and the leftist policies and courts basically making legislation and executive by fiat,” Vander Plaats said at a news conference outside the state Capitol building.
Mackey said she believed the U.S. Supreme Court’s action earlier this month not to decide whether states can ban same-sex marriage has put the focus on judges.
Vander Plaats said no decision has been made whether to launch anti-retention efforts in 2016 against three Iowa Supreme Court justices who were part of the 2009 unanimous ruling that legalized same-sex marriages in Iowa.
“Judges have now overruled the will of the people to the point where I think that is where the revolt is going to come,” Mackey said.
However, Vander Plaats said he believes Republican successes in next month’s midterm elections could pave the way for even greater gains for conservatives in 2016.
“We need that U.S. Senate in control so whoever we elect in 2016 to replace Obama can again right the ship of this country,” said Vander Plaats, who predicted the court’s non-intervention in the same-sex marriage issue will “wake up the sleeping giant” in next month’s balloting.
“I think you’re seeing the churches wake up, I think you see the conservatives wake up and they’re going to double down,” he said. “We’re rallying the troops of conservatives to get out the vote because obviously it’s going to be a turnout game. We believe the more of the base we can turn out, the better.”
If the U.S. Senate and Iowa Senate get “flipped” in the Nov. 4 election, Vander Plaats said, organizations like the Family Leader, NOM and FRC are going to demand a “high degree of accountability” from elected officials “to lead and produce” in Washington and Des Moines.
“If Obama wants to veto, Obama can veto,” he said. “I think the people are going to say this is a repudiation. We want to uproot the family policies because they’ve been anti-family, they’ve been anti-business, they’ve been anti-freedom — uproot those policies and then elect a president that will actually lead and execute.”
Donna Red Wing, executive director of One Iowa, the state’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocate group, called it sad that the conservative groups were launching a “misguided bus tour” with its “hurtful rhetoric” that is out of step with Iowan’s evolving view of marriage equality.
“We know we are winning in our struggle for LGBT equality. We know that this bus tour is simply an outdated reaction to this new reality,” she said in a statement.
“Iowa has enjoyed marriage equality for over five years now with a majority of Americans supporting the freedom to marry,” the One Iowa leader added.
“The culture has changed so much in the last few years around the important issue of marriage, and yet the Family Leader and its partners still have their feet stuck in the mud. It’s time to move on.”