Thursday, February 4, 2016

Happy Iowa Aftershocks

Encouraging political news on ethanol and immigration.
The candidates are off and running in New Hampshire, but before the shouting gets loud again it’s worth sorting through the voter and turnout data from Monday’s Iowa caucuses for some early election-year lessons. There’s some good news for pro-growth Republicans.
Start with King Ethanol, whose throne looks wobbly after Ted Cruz became the first Republican in recent memory to win the caucuses while refusing to bow down before the Iowa ethanol lobby. Corn is Iowa’s leading crop, and some 47% goes to make ethanol.
But this is an industry that exists largely because Washington decrees that the nation’s gasoline include an increasing amount of the biofuel. Republican philosophy rejects mandates and subsidies, but every presidential year this principle runs up against ethanol and the Iowa caucuses. Most Republicans surrender.
That’s the path Donald Trump chose, but Mr. Cruz said he opposes all energy subsidies and mandates, including ethanol. He also argued that a free market would be better for Iowa farmers. For this brazen disrespect he was attacked by Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who called on Iowa Republicans to defeat Mr. Cruz because he is the “biggest opponent of renewable fuels” and whose son is state director of a pro-ethanol group.
That’s a powerful lobby, but Mr. Cruz prevailed. Perhaps his supporters cared more about other issues, but in any case their votes showed that opposing ethanol subsidies is no longer the third rail of the Iowa caucuses.
Read the rest of this WSJ op-ed HERE.

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