With Covid back in spotlight, Iowa emerges as test for Trump. Can he keep it red?
DUBUQUE, Iowa — John Gilbert is angry and exhausted.He watched the first presidential debate as it devolved into chaos. He saw, days later, that President Donald Trump was diagnosed with Covid-19, throwing the White House into turmoil. He also saw Trump’s tweets effectively killing any hope of further economic stimulus before November — and then the president’s equally public attempts to backtrack.Gilbert, a Democrat in his 70s who runs his family-owned farm in Iowa Falls, Iowa, said he is especially furious with Trump’s response to the coronavirus — and his exasperation has only grown as cases surged in recent days not only through the White House, but also in his home state.“Everybody here now knows somebody who’s gotten sick or even died. I’ve had some associates who passed away,” Gilbert, who plans to vote for Joe Biden next month after voting for Hillary Clinton in 2016, said.“And the fact that we know now that the president knew about the severity so early, it really puts it all on him,” he added.Conversations with 20 Democratic, Republican and independent voters in central and northeastern Iowa, a purple state that took a chance on Trump in 2016, reveal enormous discontent with the president’s