How Bernie Sanders Helped Kill Rand Paul’s Campaign

Rand Paul’s presidential campaign hasn’t exactly gone as planned. Once seen as a rising star in the Republican Party, many saw him as poised to capitalize on his father Ron’s libertarian base of support and build upon it with Rand’s more conventional policies and a personality more palatable to mainstream conservatives. Instead, less than three weeks out from the Iowa Caucus he’s mired in low single-digit poll numbers and got bumped from the main debate stage for tonight’s Republican debate. There’s a lot of reasons for Paul’s struggles in his White House bid. By most measures, Rand Paul should be […]

Sunday Grab Bag: Boring Reporting, Bernie’s Super PAC, Chelgren Toast?

Good morning readers! Sorry about that Iowa game, but at least we got a hilariously incorrect Joni Ernst tweet out of it. It was a busy week on the Iowa Caucus trail, so let’s get right into it: Reporting On The Boring This weekend seven Republican candidates were in Iowa on the same day, leading to tough choices by caucus reporters on who to cover. I made the wrong choices, apparently. Rather than hit up the entertaining Trump events in Spencer and Davenport, or Carson’s veterans event in Waterloo (where he made a number of interesting comments on women in […]

Few Republicans Try To Close The Deal At Big GOP Event

The Republican Party of Iowa’s Growth And Opportunity event on Saturday was meant as a sort of replacement for the Iowa Straw Poll, and judging from many of the candidates’ speeches you’d think they were still in that August mindset. Few of the White House hopefuls deviated from their typical stump speeches. Despite being a mere three months from the Iowa Caucus, many contenders’ pitches remain in the introductory stage. That seemed odd considering most of the 2,000 attendees at the event were involved party activists who have seen all of these people at events or watched them online. The […]

Mental Health Closures Destroying Branstad Approval, New Poll Shows

PPP Polls released two extremely interesting Iowa-focused polls on Monday and Tuesday, taking a look both at the presidential race and Iowa issues. The first poll surveyed candidates’ favorables within their party and how they compare for the caucus. The second poll looked at potential matchups for the general, but also took a fascinating look at several Iowa politicians and issues. Here’s some key takeaways I noticed: Branstad Brand Badly Damaged It turns out kicking disabled Iowans out of their professionally-run care facilities is an unpopular thing to do. Who knew? Branstad’s overall approval numbers continue to nosedive after the […]

Rand Paul: Campaigning As The Frontrunner?

Politico is up this week with a story about how Rand Paul is (back to) campaigning as a Libertarian. After his current swing through Iowa, I would describe his campaign differently. To me, it seems like Rand is campaigning as the frontrunner. I’ve been to a lot of caucus events. Granted, I’m relatively young, so I can’t tell you about Carter’s insurgent strategy in ’76. But in the years since Bush v. Gore, I have seen virtually every candidate to make the trek across Iowa. (Most of them numerous times.) So I have a relatively strong sense of what constitutes […]

Missing an Opportunity? Democrats’ Marijuana Stance and the Millennial Vote

These days, pretty much everyone is talking about pot – except for national Democrats. And that might be a mistake on their part, because discussing marijuana legalization could be the way into the hearts of millennial voters. A PEW Researcher poll from April 2015 shows that 53% of respondents are in favor of legalizing marijuana, a huge jump from 2006, when 32% were in support. The millennial generation represents the greatest jump in support; 68% of millennials support marijuana legalization in 2015, compared to only 34% in 2006. Despite this increase in pro-legalization desires, though, none of the national Democratic […]

The Republican Bachelor – Who’s In Iowa for the Right Reasons?

Just as the Republican presidential race heats up in Iowa, the state’s own Chris Soules will be ending his much-hyped run on ABC’s The Bachelor. Sorry to disappoint, Democratic ladies, but Chris is a big Republican. He’s already met several of the presidential hopefuls, and Starting Line strongly believes that Chris will publicly endorse in the Iowa Caucus. Don’t discount him as just some reality TV star. He’s the most popular leading man The Bachelor has had in years, particularly in his native Iowa. An endorsement could grab attention from a large base of young people who aren’t typically engaged […]