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By Staff | Jan 15, 2016

Evangelicals are good conservatives in Iowa who aggressively employ their rights to vote.

Something like a fourth of Iowans claim to be evangelical Christian, but they make up a simple majority of those attending the Republican caucuses.

That magnifies their impact as a voting block helping to decide the winner and in this go-around, they have reportedly chosen Ted Cruz as their candidate.

I am not totally sure what they see in Cruz, but it’s not anything to do with his stance on ag issues.

Many evangelicals in Iowa are part of the ag economy and they have made the decision to vote against their economic interests.

I have seen people do that before, claiming to “put the country ahead of themselves.” That is a delusion, but they have to rationalize the irrational and an ideological excuse often helps them accomplish that. It makes them feel better.

About the only thing that 98 or so members of the U.S. Senate would agree on is that Ted Cruz is a jerk. As the voting public has lost confidence in Congress, Cruz has turned that into an asset in his campaign rather than a liability.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune was making fun of Iowa’s lack of support for the ethanol industry evidenced in the success of the Cruz campaign.

Republicans claim to be ethanol industry supporters, but many support the biggest enemy the ethanol industry has, given Ted Cruz is topping polls.

Iowa Congressman Steve King endorsed Cruz, accompanying him on his campaign stops, throwing his support for ethanol and trade under the bus.

Congressman King reportedly told a corn-growers association representative that, “There are more important things in the world then to worry about the RFS.”

In the world of ISIS and such that is true, but doesn’t using biofuel instead of foreign oil support the USA?

Cruz has voted to repeal the RFS and sustain oil subsides more than a few times. King reportedly said he would do nothing to help the Iowa ag sector with Cruz.

Cruz opposes the TPP as well as the RFS. I read the spin that somehow the RFS and ethanol industry will not be harmed by Cruz.

That would have to mean that Cruz is a liar. He campaigns braggadociously that only he went to the Senate and did exactly what he told his constituents that he would do.

He purports to be the guy that does exactly what he says. That means that he will either take out the RFS or he lied.

I can see that given the oil money supporting the Cruz campaign, he would do their bidding against ethanol.

How do you explain Steve King endorsing him? How did damaging his constituents’ interests achieve some greater good?

It doesn’t. So that means King will spin his way around this with a little Texas two-step.

Steve King has decided that The Star Tribune got it right when their story claimed that, “Only a fraction of the state voters work in the corn industry these days and they are not interested in ethanol anymore.”

The good news is that there are good GOP candidates who do support the RFS.

There are other candidates whom the ag sector could better live with other than Trump or Cruz, but if the GOP doesn’t rally around a viable alternative candidate soon, it will have given Hillary the chance she is hoping for. My loyalty is to the ag sector and what makes sense to complete the mission of agriculture.

If Cruz wins big, conservatives will claim that it shows that opposing ethanol will not hurt them politically and it will be a big first step toward taking the RFS down.

If Iowans and farmers won’t vote for the ag candidate who would? Obviously not even Congressman King.

What King has done has already undermined support for the RFS, TPP and ag sector. America’s Renewable Future, which is organizing for caucus goers to support pro-ethanol candidates, has now worked with the candidates to the point where they have cleared all but two as “good to go” for the RFS.

They have given a “good” rating to Bush, Carson, Christie, Fiorina, Huckabee, Kasich, Rubio, Santorum and Trump. The only two GOP candidates to get a “bad” rating were Cruz and Paul.

The evangelical endorsement of Cruz throws the ag sector under the bus. Evangelical Bob Vander Plaats forgot he was an Iowan to support the most anti-ag candidate running. There were other pro-ag GOP evangelical candidates to choose from and he picks the Texan that hates Iowa agriculture.

All three Democrats – Hillary, O’Malley and Sanders – got “good” ratings from ARF. This was a significant improvement over the past report card for the overall field of candidates.

However, ARF only promotes RFS support so maintains a narrow perspective of ag issues. But ARF is effort is flawed. Cruz tops the polls and by essentially endorsing nine GOP candidates as good on RFS, the ARF-generated support is so diluted that Cruz will still likely win.

The headline after the caucus will still be “Cruz beats the RFS support in Iowa caucus.”

Ag-loving Iowans have to pick a candidate to coalesce around which is how I get forced to Chris Christie.

I did get Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey to say, so that I can quote him, that Trump’s trade policy “would be a disaster” for the Iowa ag sector and economy.

That would still leave eight GOP choices that the ag sector could live with.

David Kruse is president of CommStock Investments Inc., author and producer of The CommStock Report, an ag commentary and market analysis available daily by radio and by subscription on DTN/FarmDayta and the Internet.

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