Iowa Republicans suffered another important defection from the party line on Donald Trump. Melissa Gesing, the president of the Iowa Federation of Women, announced she was resigning as the head of the organization in a lengthy article in which she compared her wavering on Trump to being in a “bad and unhealthy relationship.”
The Iowa Federation of Women is one of the state party’s most active and influential organizations. Their members are often seen at Republican events in Iowa in matching t-shirts, and they provide groups of volunteers to many campaigns. Gesing has been a member of the organization since 1999 and worked on Elizabeth Dole’s Iowa Caucus campaign as its field director.
“I have finally had enough with falling in line with my party and trying to support Donald Trump for President,” Gesing writes. “Perhaps it’s because things finally hit close enough to home and my world experience to resonate. Or perhaps supporting Donald Trump has been a bit like being in a bad and unhealthy relationship. Part of the problem with getting out of the relationship is that you keep convincing yourself that things are going to get better.”
Gesing explains in considerable detail how she wavered back and forth on Trump ever since it became clear he would be the nominee. She emailed the National Federation of Republican Women in May with questions over how she could justify to her children and family her support of someone who had said such lewd things. She broke down in tears after other women at a nonpartisan women’s conference questioned how she could support Trump, and constantly had to get reassurance from friends.
“So I continued on and for a while – in my world at least – it went a little better,” she writes, describing her highs and lows during Trump’s bad first debate, then Mike Pence’s good one.
“And then the tapes,” Gesing continues. “Ugh. I could not even process all of that for a good 24 hours. I was immediately angry. I was angry at Trump, but I was even more angry with myself. It should have been no surprise, given everything else we have been shown about Donald Trump.”
Her individual work for down-ballot Republicans will continue, however. A key part of the national situation with Trump now is how much fallout those down-ballot candidates will receive. Will Republicans disgusted with Trump not vote at all, or will they still turn out and just not vote in the presidential race? And will Trump supporters punish Republican leaders who stray, and not vote for any down-ballot candidates?
“When I look back on this election years from now, I want to be proud of taking a stand for what I thought was right, even if I cut it a little close on the deadline,” Gesing concludes. “Decency transcends party loyalty.”
Read Gesing’s entire article here.
by Pat Rynard