Conventional wisdom says that you cannot win Iowa without kissing the pinky ring of the Iowa corn lobby and pledging your fealty to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the anti-science policy which is bad for the environment, fuel mileage, and America at large. Iowa's traditional role as the first Presidential contest for both parties basically ensures that anyone with even a whiff of Presidential ambition has largely taken a pass at criticizing a policy which is a bad idea for everyone except an extremely well-connected group of corn farmer lobbyists.
Ted Cruz has been challenging all that with his current Presidential run. Despite the fact that Cruz is a staunch opponent of the Renewable Fuel Standard, he has soared to first in the Iowa polls. Assuming (as it is relatively safe to do) that Cruz's Iowa organization likely makes him even stronger relative to Trump than the polls would suggest, Cruz has to be considered a prohibitive favorite in Iowa at this point.
In other words, Ted Cruz may finally be the politician that changes the playbook for how to win in Iowa, and manages to win among ordinary Iowa voters while giving Big Corn the finger.
Big Corn, of course, is reacting to the potential slaughter of their golden taxpayer dollar goose in a reasonable, adult manner - by following Cruz around Iowa and complaining about him like a petulant toddler:
Ted Cruz wasn’t alone as he kicked off a six-day, 28-stop tour of Iowa this week.
The presidential candidate is being trailed – they call it “bracketing” in the political business – this week not only by Iowa Democrats but also by a leading advocacy group for Iowa’s renewable fuels industry.
America’s Renewable Future, the pro-ethanol group, announced on Monday that it would trail Cruz’s campaign bus across the state this week in an RV, stopping at all 28 events to highlight his opposition to federal renewable fuels subsidies.
America's Renewable Future's state director in Iowa is Eric Branstad. Eric is the son of Iowa's GOP governor Terry Branstad, which is all you need to know about how deeply embedded this lobbying group is within the Iowa GOP establishment. Eric Branstad is directly quoted in the Des Moines Register article about this issue, indicating clearly that the corn toadies in the Iowa GOP want you to vote against Cruz.
If Cruz can win in spite of this, then perhaps some semblance of sanity can return to America's corn policy.