Good morning readers! As always, a lot happened in the political world this week. Enjoy our Sunday Grab Bag of shorter takes on a number of Iowa and national political topics:
Democrats and Allies Unite in Pink for Education
The stalemate over education funding at the Iowa Statehouse continues this week as Republicans refuse to budge from their original paltry 1.25% allowable growth increase. ISEA, Democrats and education allies showed their frustration on Thursday by encouraging supporters to wear pink across the state in solidarity with the teachers receiving pink slips. 1,130 teachers have either been laid off or positions have gone unfilled as school districts make tough decisions with uncertain funding. The wear-pink effort was a savvy move, with Twitter and Facebook lighting up on Thursday with education supporters around the state taking part in the #PinkApril30 effort. Who knows if it’ll move any Republican legislators to the negotiating table. Perhaps some specifically-targeted criticism could be the way to go next. (Also: of course Ako Abdul-Samad has a pink suit just lying around to wear. Why wouldn’t he?)
Clipboard Season in Iowa
The first Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market was yesterday morning and, as always, the streets were packed with Iowa residents looking for some delicious, fresh produce or a tasty breakfast burrito. The crowd has started to trend younger and more liberal as downtown fills up with young professionals, making it a key target for campaigns. Several groups were out clipboarding the crowd Saturday morning, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign, the League of Conservation Voters and Run Warren Run.
I always encourage people to stop and see what these people have to say, and if you like it, sign up for more info. But sometimes it can get to be a bit much after you get asked to sign up for something by the fourth person in an hour. If you want a quick out from a campaign ask, try these Starting Line-suggested methods when asked by the following groups:
Hillary Clinton: “Sorry, I’m voting for Lyndon LaRouche.”
Bernie Sanders: “No thank you, I’m waiting for Ben and Jerry to get in the presidential race.”
Climate Change activists: “An iceberg killed my father. I want them all to melt.”
Run Warren Run: “Hell yes, I want Warren G to regulate Wall Street. Wait, who are you talking about?”
League of Conservation Voters: “I only support coalitions, associations, unions, alliances, and confederacies. Not leagues.”
Baltimore’s Role In 2016
The city of Baltimore will see few, if any, presidential campaign visits this year and next. But it has already wielded huge influence on the candidates early in the race. For Martin O’Malley, it presented his greatest challenge yet as a soon-to-be candidate, as I noted earlier this week. But he showed a lot of leadership in returning to his city and risking the media reports that would tie his policing strategies to the unrest. If you want to learn a lot more about the type of person O’Malley is, read this excellent Yahoo Politics report of his visit back home.
For Rand Paul, the libertarian-minded candidate missed a golden opportunity to showcase his “different kind of Republican” approach. Speaking early and often in his campaign about the plight of the inner cities (something you rarely hear from the GOP), all Paul could muster in reference to Baltimore was a quip this week explaining he had taken a train to DC and passed through Baltimore, saying, “I’m glad the train didn’t stop.” Paul may speak a good game about some of these issues, but he reverted back to typical uncaring Republican mindset when the riots broke out. Politico wrote an excellent piece on badly he botched the situation.
For Hillary Clinton, she got the opportunity to give a major policy speech on how America should “end the era of mass incarceration.” It was largely well-received and Clinton came off especially passionate in her delivery (she’s at her best and most authentic when she speaks on policy). Still, it gave lots of journalists an easy angle to write on, noting that she was largely rejecting her husband’s 1990’s policies on crime. It is an intriguing departure from the past, but not because of who she’s married to. Check out this New York Times piece on the shift.
And a side note on Baltimore: Has America finally found a public official with the balls to take on their city’s police department? Thank God for Marilyn Mosby. For all of Bill de Blasio’s efforts to make himself a national progressive hero, he was too weak to stand up to the New York City police union in the most egregious caught-on-camera case of Eric Garner. Hopefully Baltimore will be a turning point in this sad trend sweeping the nation’s urban centers.
The Week Ahead
It was a pretty slow news week in Iowa, as evidenced by this light Sunday post. There’s just not that many extra topics to cover. But next week we’ve got three presidential campaign announcements in two days: Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina announce Monday and Mike Huckabee makes it official on Tuesday. We’ll look at those three’s chances in the GOP field. We’ll also check in on the Legislature’s education funding stalemate and how voters feel about that. And I’ll catch up on a few stories I had planned for last week that got shelved due to writer’s block and breaking news.
Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow morning!
By Pat Rynard