Iowa’s one-party controlled government creates havoc

Most Americans would agree one-party countries, like the Russian Federation or People’s Republic of China, are not the best manner in which to run a country, let alone to live under authoritarian rule. Likewise, many would contend one-party controlled states, like Iowa, are problematic to her citizens.

For the first time since 1914 there is only one divided legislature in America: Minnesota. Nebraska’s legislature has been non-partisan since 1937. Nineteen states are autocratically run by the Democrats and 30 states, including Iowa, are under totalitarian GOP control.

Since 1992, Iowa Democrats and Republicans have, at various times, established trifecta (i.e., Governor’s Office, House and Senate) dominance. Democrats owned Iowa’s Capitol during 2007-2010 and Republicans had draconian control in 1997-1998 as well as since the 2016 election.

There are many problems when autocrats govern. First, America’s prized check and balance principle is eroded. Secondly, with one-party high-handedness, bipartisanship rarely exists. Third, usually short-term policy decisions are made, which we suffer from in the long-haul. Fourth, out-of-state policy groups greatly influence legislation. Fifth, concerns of registered minority party and no-party independent voters, who, in numbers, are greater than the party in control, are not represented under one-party control — rather undemocratic, don’t you think?

Back in 2007-2010, the Democrat-controlled Capitol ran rough-shod over Iowa’s citizens on a lot of labor-related issues including fair share payment of collective bargaining negotiation costs by non-union members, requiring the prevailing wage on public construction projects and choice of doctor by employee (vs. employer) when a work injury occurred. The Democrats instilled an across-the-board budget cut for all state agencies. However, the Democrats were very supportive of women’s rights, education, handicapped, disadvantaged and protecting bullied children.

Since 2016 it is blatantly apparent the Republicans are walking all over Iowa’s citizens on five issues: attempt to overrule Roe v. Wade federal abortion rights law, local control is becoming extinct, judicial and even assessor’s office holders will become political positions, 1880s-like Wild-Wild-West gun rights have reemerged and voter suppression are ruling the roost.

Think about the following issues that fall in the conservative-centrist-progressive continuum: judges selected by a political party versus from a non-partisan committee, multiple voter ID’s required or registration on voting day, exonerated felons get to vote or only with governor’s approval, public education support at annual cost of operation (3 percent) or shun public education with financial support shifted to privatized tutorial education, collective bargaining restriction or employee rights to bargain, telephonic or on-site nursing home inspections, mental health housing facility closures and defacto prison and jail mental health centers or proper care for the most vulnerable, support corporate welfare or low-middle income population, post-secondary education support or decimated budgets, juvenile detention centers closings or supporting troubled children, medicinally restricted or expanded marijuana laws, infrastructure expansion or standstill, expanded nitrate reduction or status quo, equal rights for women or women’s rights demeaned, $7.25 below poverty level or above poverty level minimum wage, home schooling with no accountability or oversight with annual testing, taxpayer money to support students attending private colleges or public money used for public institutions, out-of-state managed and expensive privatized Medicaid program or efficacious and properly managed state-run Medicaid — to name a few.

Take time to reflect upon the one-sided 2007-2010 actions of Iowa’s Democrats and the partisan 2016-current GOP control we’re experiencing. You’ll quickly realize authoritarian dictatorial trifecta rule has caused major problems for Iowa.

It’s high time voters recognize one-party domination at Iowa’s Capitol is exceedingly dangerous. When we vote in the 2020 election let’s vow to restore checks and balances with a split party government, restore bipartisanship and restore prudent policy making.


Steve Corbin is the Professor Emeritus of Marketing, University of Northern Iowa. He can be reached at