Hilarious: Joni Ernst’s Name Blurred Out In Anti-Rod Blum/Trump Ad

Donald Trump: bad. Joni Ernst: good? That at least must be what the polling shows for a Democratic Super PAC hitting Rod Blum over his support of Donald Trump. Priorities USA, the well-funded organization supporting Hillary Clinton, just released a new ad showing Blum giving a speech where he says, “Send me back to Congress, and you send Donald Trump to the White House!” The location of the speech is immediately apparent to anyone involved in Iowa politics – it’s at Joni Ernst’s Roast and Ride from September. But viewers might not notice because Joni Ernst’s name has been blurred […]

The Truth About 2017 Obamacare Costs

Trump and Republicans are fanning Obamacare fears over rising health insurance rates of 25%.  According to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, “thanks to financial assistance, most marketplace consumers this year will find plan options with premiums between $50 and $100 per month.”  What Trump and Republicans aren’t telling you is that with subsidies, many consumers will see no net increase in insurance costs in 2017. Example: In 2017 for a Silver Plan on the Exchange, a 40 year old single male, non-smoker, making $30,000 per year, living in Cedar Rapids, will see no net increase in costs after […]

Brian Schoenjahn Fights To Save Iowa’s Mental Health Care System

The headlines for Iowa’s mental health care system the past few years have been rough: Iowa Ranks Last For State Psychiatric Beds Iowa Among Worst States For Mental Health Care Iowa Is Second Worse State In Recent Mental Health Report But headlines obviously pale in comparison to the daily struggle those facing mental health issues live with everyday. So too for those who work to care for them. Those who live in and around Independence know the problem all too well. That’s where one of the two remaining state-run mental health institutions operates. Many are worried what will happen to the Independence and […]

Educators See A Listener, Advocate In Hillary Clinton

Policy issues have not always enjoyed center stage in 2016’s divisive and wild election, and one major area that’s particularly been left out is K-12 public education. While much of school funding gets determined at the state level, President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act had a massive impact on public education from the federal level. The next president will likely continue President Obama’s reform of that program, as well as work to address the inequality of educational opportunity in the country. The country’s largest educator organizations have endorsed Hillary Clinton, who has laid out considerably more in-depth education policy […]

Climate Change Is Reaching The Political Boiling Point

Advocates of addressing climate change may finally be reaching the political threshold that will force worldwide action. This year has seen the implementation of a number of critical actions, agreements and commitments that suggest we have passed a tipping point for action. The Paris Climate Agreement surpassed the necessary number of ratifying nations last month and will go into force on November 4, 2016. An additional global limit on hydrofluorocarbons, a major contributor to global warming, was signed last month as well. Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau announced last month that Canada will implement a national price on carbon, a huge […]

Branstad’s Minimum Wage Comments Raise Stakes For Statehouse Races

The consequences of the outcomes in Iowa’s many competitive state legislative races grew ever greater today, following Governor Terry Branstad’s remarks at his morning press conference. Branstad said he didn’t like the developing “hodge podge” of separate minimum wage laws, and suggested the Iowa Legislature take up the issue in 2017. With that it appears activists and elected officials’ efforts (some successful, some not) to raise the minimum wage in Linn, Johnson, Polk, Lee, Wapello and Woodbury counties have succeed in one of their main goals: pressure the state legislature into action. Many believed that by creating a patchwork of varying minimum […]

Iowa GOP Leaders Won’t Stand Up For Election Integrity

Why are so many Iowa Republicans refusing to condemn Trump’s unfounded accusations that this election is corrupt and a rigged system?  If Trump attacks the validity of the election, couldn’t these Republicans’ reelection be questioned as well? There’s nothing more sacred to America’s democratic traditions than free and fair elections. Anyone who values our democratic electoral process should be willing to speak up and defend the legitimacy of our elections. Our election system is held up to the world as a model of democratic participation. That’s why Trump shocked the world with his refusal to agree to accept the results of […]

Which Counties Have The Best Absentee Rates For Ds And Rs

It’s crunch time for Democrats’ and Republicans’ early vote efforts in Iowa. With just two and a half weeks left until Election Day, campaigns are scrambling to pick up absentee ballots and turn voters out to early voting locations. There’s plenty of numbers to pore over, so let’s get right into it. First off, a check on the statewide numbers of absentee requests compared to this time in 2012: Requests Party Today Then % Diff Democrat 182,064 217,964 84% Republican 150,169 147,112 102% No Party 88,673 112,131 79% And now a look at the statewide numbers of who has already voted compared […]

A Reckless Trump Undermines Democracy

What is happening to our country? For generations, going all the way back to the 13 colonies, the Founding Fathers wanted this place to be different from other nations. People in America would be able to speak and think freely and move about at will. People would get to vote on the people who would make decisions. And there would be a Constitution that spelled this all out. John Winthrop made the trek in 1630 from England to what we know today as Massachusetts. He described the America that he found as a beacon for people looking for a better, […]

A District-By-District Look At Senate Fundraising And Spending

Earlier today we took an in-depth look at where the Democrats and Republicans are spending the most money in state legislative races. Now let’s go district-by-district to see how much each candidate raised, what contributions were interesting and what it all means (we’ll start with just the State Senate – this took longer than expected). The big thing to keep in mind here is that a lot of the numbers under the “spending” is actually the candidate sending money to the party. In Iowa most targeted legislative races are coordinated by the state party. A candidate raises say $50,000 and sends […]