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Florida in the Midwest

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On formerly moderate Iowa joining the Confederacy:

Republicans in the Iowa legislature, empowered by the state’s recent “red wave,” have embarked on an ambitious new agenda that includes a costly school choice bill and legislation targeting the LGBTQ community, a historic divergence from Iowa’s history as a civil rights bastion.

Even as teens draped in rainbow flags crowded into the Capitol rotunda chanting “We say gay” on March 8, Iowa lawmakers quickly passed three bills related to gay and transgender rights, culminating with a measure to ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth that is awaiting Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds’s signature.

The votes were not only emphatic but were also a sharp reversal for the state:Iowa has veered so far to the right in recent years that its political landscape is virtually unrecognizable from the centrist place that chose Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 and was one of the earliest states in the country to affirm same-sex marriage. A joke among statehouse reporters is that Iowa is becoming the “Florida of the North” — without the beaches.

Educational polarization is going to produce some really grim results.

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