What’s Next: Incorporating Long-Shot Candidates In The Larger Effort

Every cycle in Iowa, hundreds of Democrats are on the ballot. Some run in safe districts where registered Democrats easily outnumber Republicans. Some run in swing districts where both parties compete heavily and either side can win. And then there’s the brave souls who run in deep-red districts where they have no realistic shot of winning, short of a massive wave election year. Those candidates obviously don’t get as much attention from the party infrastructure as ones in must-win swing districts do. That’s understandable to an extent, as a serious party has to prioritize its resources into races it can win. […]

What’s Next: Iowa County Democratic Elected Officials Association

Guest Post from John Murphy, Dubuque County Recorder Given the elections results, Democrats across Iowa are asking “what’s next.” I want to provide my take as a county elected official who believes that a little structure and support of county office holders can help identify strong candidates moving forward. I have a long term approach to a problem that has hindered our party for years. As a county candidate in 2014, I realized pretty quickly that you are on your own when running for office.  There is essentially no structure to help “build the bench” from a county perspective.  For […]

Civil Disobedience Or Armed Revolt? Depends On Who You Are

A jury verdict in Portland, Ore., a few weeks ago was all but obscured in the news by the presidential campaign. That’s unfortunate, because the verdict falls into the same “oh, you’ve got to be kidding” category as the acquittal of O.J. Simpson on murder charges in 1995. The Oregon jurors found brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy and five sympathizers not guilty of federal charges in the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The 187,000-acre refuge has been assembled through purchases by the federal government since 1908. There was no question the Bundy brothers and about 25 armed […]

Trump Was The Right-Wing Radio Candidate. Here’s What To Do About It.

When I run errands in the afternoon, I frequently turn to WHO to hear right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh. It’s my way of understanding the conservative id. You must know your opponent. That’s why Donald Trump’s rise wasn’t such a shock for me. Trump was the right-wing radio candidate. He and Limbaugh (and Sean Hannity and Michael Savage and many others) could be identical siblings. Listening to the hosts, you hear the same lies, distortions, racist memes, conspiracy theories, simplistic solutions and preening, bullying behavior as you get from Trump. He’s the strong man Limbaugh has longed for since Ronald […]

Where You Can Help Next: Jim Lykam’s Senate Special Election

Democrats in Scott County gathered Thursday night to select their nominee to run in the special election for Senate District 45. State Representative Jim Lykam won the vote after his two potential opponents, including fellow Representative Cindy Winckler, declined to run. Senator Joe Seng passed away in September, leaving the Davenport-based seat open. Since it was so close to the general election, a special election had to be scheduled, and Governor Terry Branstad picked December 27th as the date. It was clearly an attempt to depress turnout during the holidays, and gives Republicans a very slight chance of picking up the […]

What’s Next: Time For A New Generation Of Iowa Democrats To Step Up

Where do we go from here? That’s the question on every Iowa Democrat’s mind following last Tuesday’s election results. There’s no need to rehash how bad it was. We already know. And we know it will take a massive amount of work to fight our way back. But how? Obviously, things must change. What we’re doing as a party did not work. There were a multitude of factors that caused the extent of Tuesday’s loss, and there are an even greater amount of solutions going forward. That’s what Starting Line will be focusing on for the next week or two: […]

The Iowa Caucus Emerges From 2016 In A Strong Position

A lot of American institutions came out worse for the ware from the volatile 2016 presidential election. Except for one: the Iowa Caucus. The always-at-risk lead-off contest will come out of this year in a much stronger situation than previously thought. A Donald Trump presidency and a Democratic Party in turmoil makes it considerably more likely that Iowa’s place in the primary process remains. Now, let me first make perfectly clear: Yes, there’s way bigger consequences that came out of this election, and no Democrat is going to be happy that the caucus is saved due to Donald Trump’s election. […]

Democrats Still Won A Mandate In The Popular Vote

I know we just suffered a humbling defeat. However, as Democrats digest the ugly election results they should be celebrating the popular vote total. Even though Hillary Clinton lost the election based on the electoral college, she won the national popular vote total. As of Wednesday afternoon Clinton is leading with 47.6% and Trump has 47.5%. Clinton is leading by nearly 207,000 votes nationwide. Clinton has accumulated 59,786,125 while Trump is behind at 59,578,670. In addition, counting is still continuing and most experts agree it appears Clinton will win the national popular vote when all the votes are counted. Let […]

Andy McGuire Needs To Reconsider Her Gubernatorial Run

The worst kept secret in Iowa politics is that Iowa Democratic Party chair Andy McGuire is running for governor, and has been planning for it since before her election as party chair. Her path in a primary for 2018 was always going to be difficult if she faced serious opposition, but it has become near-impossible after Tuesday’s wipeout for Iowa Democrats. There were a ton of factors at play in Iowa’s drastic shift in Republicans’ favors. An unpopular presidential nominee that always had long-running problems with the state. A united Iowa Republican Party that kept defections from Trump to a minimum. […]

The Fight To Take It All Back Begins Today

Last night was a very bad night for the Iowa Democratic Party and the future of our state. Iowa was engulfed in a red tidal wave that wiped out the party’s majority in the Iowa Senate, handing full control of state government over to the Republicans. The legislative session will be a frightening one, and many Democrats are wondering today whether the party can ever claw it’s way back from this red state status. The answer is a simple one: we can. Despite the incredible difficulties that lie ahead and the vast shift in Iowa policies certain to come, there are real […]