Will Protests at Ernst and Grassley Events Have Desired Effect?

Feb 23, 2017

Iowa's U.S. senators are back in the state this week, drawing large, sometimes raucous crowds at town hall meetings. Attendance at Sen. Charles Grassley's gathering in Hancock county was reportedly more than 100. Sen. Joni Ernst drew a similar crowd at her event in Macquoketa.

Some Iowa attendees held signs supporting the Affordable Care Act and chanted "Do your job," and "Work for us." But do such protests make a difference to elected officials?

Dave Andersen, assistant professor of political science at ISU says, "I think they do sway elected officials, and certainly make them think more about what they are doing." 

Andersen says people don't like fast change. "People are saying the Trump administration is pushing rapid change in lots of different areas and they're asking their members of Congress to stand up against him."

Tim Hagle, associate professor of political science at University of Iowa, says these protests are different from those spawned after Obama's election. "It's different to the extent that it's happening a lot earlier."

Hagle says the so-called Tea Party protests didn't erupt until after approval of the ACA. "It was more of a specific concern with economic issues and expansion of government." Hagle says although today's protestors are expressing concern about a variety of issues the opposition seems to be more to President Trump in general rather than something more targeted.

In this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer also talks with Andersen and Hagle about President Trump's proposals on immigration, his naming of a National Security Advisor and the rest of the week's political happenings.