In the race to be the next economic powerhouse city of the Midwest, the future winner will be crowned by one decisive factor: whether Omaha or Des Moines lands an NFL team.

Wait, what?

That’s emerged as a key issue for Omaha’s increasingly ridiculous mayoral race, or at least for its most colorful candidate.

Taylor Royal, a Donald Trump-loving, 27-year-old business grad being financed by himself and his rich father, has made attracting an NFL team to Omaha a central part of his campaign since last Fall. That’s gotten him some mocking national attention, and now he’s running ads on that and more in the days leading up to the April 4 primary election.

But it was his unintentionally hilarious quote in this Omaha World-Herald article today that caught one of my readers’ eyes, and mine:

“If we don’t get a professional sports team, I guarantee you, Des Moines will get one, and it will be over with for Omaha,” Royal told the paper.

Des Moines has had some pretty good years recently, but I didn’t realize we were to the point of inspiring envy and dread in our closest major metropolitan neighbor.

Perhaps the city feels neglected by the NFL now that Peyton Manning has retired and is no longer screaming out “OMAHA!” before every single play. Or perhaps Royal is just a weird, privileged white kid who doesn’t get what the real needs of Omaha are.

His entire candidacy is quite the doozy.

“Royal is a little-known Republican who grew up in Millard and Bennington and who is now trying to position himself as a viable contender in a race that has been dominated so far by Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert and former State Sen. Heath Mello,” wrote Robynn Tysver of the World Herald.

The upstart candidate got business degrees in Lincoln and Dallas, working at Deloitte tax consulting and accounting firm before returning to Nebraska to work for his father at Northwestern Mutual. It’s daddy’s checkbook that’s financed most of the young Royal’s bid, contributing $40,000 early on, and apparently much more as of late. Royal has bought $150,000 worth of ads for the final push.

So Taylor’s qualifications include being a fancy businessman, wearing dapper suits and having the most goddamn punchable face I’ve ever seen.

He has criticized his opponents for not supporting Trump, as well as their backing for a streetcar system in Omaha. That’s a waste of money, Royal argues, as the real financial boon for Omaha is not accessible public transportation for its citizens, but a sparkling NFL stadium on the banks of the Missouri River.

“Imagine cheering on our former Cornhuskers or seeing Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Russell Wilson throw the football on a Sunday in our backyard,” Royal writes on his website.

I can only assume that part of this vision includes Royal sitting with his father at the 50-yard line when every wide receiver for the Omaha team suddenly goes down with an injury. Aaron Rodgers (who was lured away from the Packers at the behest of the dashing young mayor) turns to Royal and says, “You’re in, kid.” He then proceeds to catch the game-winning touchdown and the crowd erupts in cheers.

And Royal does lay out a clear argument on his website as to how Omaha would make their bid to the NFL:

  1. Nebraskans love football
  2. Lots of people go to Huskers games
  3. Lots of people live in Omaha
  4. Other cities are located near Omaha, and thus more people could drive in for games

However, Des Moines would be certain to win such a competition were Omaha dumb enough to elect this Richie Rich kid as their next mayor. Our pitch to the NFL would be much simpler in this situation:

  1. We’re not Omaha

And then, in Royal’s view, it really would be over for their city. Iowa would need to erect a wall to keep all the refugees from crossing over into Council Bluffs, and Carter Lake would become the defacto administrative district for the now-dystopian urban hellscape of a city.

So please, voters of Omaha, pick Taylor Royal as your next mayor. It probably won’t get either of our cities an NFL team, but it will give Iowa a good laugh. And after the year we’ve had, drawing national mockery for Steve King and several pieces of extreme and stupid legislation, we wouldn’t mind one of our neighbors getting some scorn for a bit.

 

by Pat Rynard
Posted 3/28/17

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