Steve King Out of Congress is Something We Can All Rally Behind
Lost in all the tumult, protesting, and rioting in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death was one supremely awesome development; Steve King lost his primary. The embattled congressman from Iowa lost his primary to Iowa State Senator Randy Feenstra. In a country where it seems like nobody can agree on anything, this is one of the few things we can all agree is a great development. People cannot agree on foundational American symbols like the flag and the National Anthem, but, we can all agree Steve King is a white national piece of crap that deserves to be excised from the American government, and society writ large. America, for all of its warts, is a better place today than it was with King as a representative.
What is even more wonderful is how and why King will no longer serve the good people of Iowa. King most recently came under fire in January 2019 for comments to the New York Times where he defended terms like “White Nationalist” and “White Supremacist.” While King had a long history of saying and doing racist things prior to the 2019 outburst, the 2019 moment was the straw that finally broke the camel’s back. Although King was never formally censured (we will get to the reason why shortly), he was kicked out from his House committee assignments. This stripping of all power from King eventually led to his ouster in the recent primary as Iowans refused to vote for somebody who brought nothing except for racist comments to the table.
This is a great moment for America, but it is also a laudable moment for Republicans. Yes, Iowans and Republicans should have acted sooner to toss King overboard, but a job well done–even if it was tardy–is still a job well done. Now, we do not have to start throwing parades congratulating Republicans for finally doing the right thing, but it is worth mentioning they eventually saw the errors of their ways and did the right thing.
Steve King’s white supremacist rhetoric is totally inconsistent with the Republican Party, and I’m glad Iowa Republicans rejected him at the ballot box.
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) June 3, 2020
And it needs to be noted, they did this at a moment in time when their colleagues across the aisle have shown no such backbone.
The Steve King or Steve Kings of the Democratic Party
Republicans stripped Steve King of all of his power and it led to his downfall. Republicans finally saw his racist rhetoric for what it was and decided they could no longer act in good conscious if he was to have any power in the Republican party. So they did the right thing and stripped him of his assignments and power. However, the House never got around to censuring King. They did not censure him even though what he said was clearly racist and deserving of censure. I repeat, everyone… on both sides of the aisle… agreed it was racist, and it was definitely worthy of censure. So what happened?
The Democrats in the house refused to put Steve King to a censure vote because “Some Democratic leaders expressed concern at setting a precedent of censuring members over offensive speech.” This was not for some holy reasoning, but rather, Democrats looked at their side of the aisle and went, “we have some seriously antisemitic members on our side, maybe we should think twice about censure.” When you are the party of Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes, and Ayanna Pressley, it is a wise political move to avoid censuring members of congress for offensive speech.
Whereas at the beginning of 2019, the Republicans moved to strip Steve King of all of his power after blatantly racist remarks, the Democrats did no such thing with Ilhan Omar and her antisemitic remarks in early 2019. In fact, far from censuring her or stripping her from committee assignments, the Democrats ran to her defense after her “All about the Benjamins” tweet. They turned Omar into the victim. Democrats bravely (<–sarcasm) passed a resolution in the wake of her remarks condemning all forms of bigotry (“anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism and other forms of bigotry“), skirting the issue of their representative’s hilariously obvious antisemitism.
Primarying Steve King Proves We Vote Racists Out of Office… But Who is We?
Steve King lost the Iowa GOP primary. That’s what we do. We vote racists out of office.
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) June 3, 2020
Alyssa Milano is correct, “We vote racists out of office.” Even if she probably misunderstood who the “we” was in this scenario, any time a racist is voted out of office, it should not be a partisan celebration. Any day where there is one less racist in power is a cause for celebration, even if it took longer than expected. But it speaks volumes to see the juxtaposition of Milano and others like her celebrating King’s departure while being completely fine with the presence of Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes, and Ayanna Pressley.
Americans–Democrat and Republican alike–should not let that stand and allow bigots in office. So let us keep the celebration going. King is gone? Woohoo! Democrats and Republicans are both popping the champagne, but there is still work to be done. The only problem is, there are plenty more bottles ready to be opened and I fear–if the Democrats get their way–nobody will ever get the chance to take a sip as actual hatred of bigotry apparently only flows one direction in Congress.