An Old, Liberal, Activist Judge. Iowans Lose A Legend

Liberals have had a bad summer. One of the Democratic Party’s rising stars, Beau Biden, suddenly passed away. Jimmy Carter has brain cancer. Hillary’s email problem drags on, while Bernie cannot escape Black Lives Matter protesters. Jon Stewart retired and Donald Trump may be the next president. Planned Parenthood is under attack, and once-stalwart Democrats have embraced Ted Cruz’s position on diplomacy with Iran. Not good. And this week the progressive cause in Iowa suffered a similar blow, with the passing of Senior Federal Judge Donald E. O’Brien. Many younger politicos may not know Judge O’Brien. It has been a […]

GOP On Immigration: King Backs “Rapist” Comments, Mickelson Suggests Slavery

Over a month has passed since Donald Trump’s incendiary statements about immigrants set off a firestorm in the presidential race, but the immigration issue has found itself front and center once again this week among Republicans. And once again there seems to be desire among the Republican contenders to outdo each other, leading to some interesting commentary from conservative leaders, including one that Starting Line overheard at the State Fair. Trump released his plan for immigration this week, which included deporting all immigrants here unlawfully (whole families included), stop birthright citizenship (a right protected in the Constitution), triple the border […]

Falling Candidates Shake Off Frustration At State Fair

The Iowa State Fair saved its most dreary weather for two Republican candidates struggling to keep up in the nomination fight. Marco Rubio faced a crowd this Tuesday at the Fair, but it was certainly not the type the presidential candidate was hoping for. Rain fell from gloomy skies in sheets, and Rubio was forced to give his soapbox speech to a sea of umbrellas. Rubio told listeners that he would cut the speech short to avoid an oncoming burst of rain, but he still seemed rushed, not quite as enthusiastic as he’s been at previous events. He stuck to […]

Protesters Boo Walker, Carson Pulls A Crowd, Fiorina Has Fun

After all five Democrats toured the Iowa State Fair on Thursday and Saturday, the Republican candidates descended upon the Fair in full force on Sunday and Monday. Starting Line was on the scene to follow all the action – here’s our observations from more full days of caucus campaigning: Scott Walker Monday’s chaotic scene at the Soapbox could serve as a ominous omen for how the country would look under a future Walker presidency, if he were to win. The anger and hatred for Walker and his heavy-handed actions in Wisconsin followed him to the State Fair, with about a […]

Monday Power Rankings: Iowa Caucus – Republicans (August)

What a tumultuous time the Republican field has experienced in just the path month. Nearly every candidate’s standing has changed considerably from the last time we ranked the Republican White House hopefuls back in June. It was an incredibly busy weekend for Starting Line, so this isn’t as extensive as I’d like, but here we go: 1. Donald Trump – Trump! Trump! Trump! Everyone (including me) predicted his downfall after his many questionable and incendiary statements. But he’s survived it all and I’m really not sure what could damage him at this point. Maybe a debate where they just ask […]

Jim Mowrer Launches 3rd District Run

Democrats now have two candidates in the 3rd District Congressional race to oust Republican David Young. Jim Mowrer announced this morning he’s launching his own candidacy for the seat, having previously run last year against Steve King. “With encouragement from folks across the district, family and friends, I am proud and enthusiastic to announce my campaign for the 3rd Congressional District,” said Mowrer in a press release. “Congress isn’t working. What we need is leadership willing to put Iowa’s middle class before parties and politics – that’s exactly why I’m running and what I’ll do.” In an interview with the […]

Wing Ding Dinner Analysis – Fired Up Democrats Cheer Their Candidates

Beyond what the Wing Ding Dinner meant for individual candidates, the night put on display how excited and fired up Democrats are for 2016. That’s not always the case when your party is already in the White House. The sold-out, record crowd cheered loud and often for all the candidates, and the Surf Ballroom was a fun setting as always. Props to the organizers of the Wing Ding for putting together such a great event. I expect many Iowa Democrats will be making annual drives to Clear Lake more and more now. Democratic enthusiasm aside, Hillary Clinton once again dominated […]

Fair Frenzy: Sanders’ Big Day, Trump Copter, Hillary Meets Butter Cow

“Nothing Compares” says this year’s Iowa State Fair slogan. They had no idea how right they’d be. I’ve experienced a lot of crazy, surreal days in Iowa politics around caucus season, but yesterday’s madness at the State Fair definitely surpasses them all. Everywhere you went fair-goers were talking non-stop about the visiting candidates. Donald Trump flew in on his helicopter. Hillary Clinton walked the Fair, surrounded by a swarm of press and well-wishers. Like medieval banners heralding a king’s arrival, the lofted boom mics fair-goers first saw in the distance signaled a presidential candidate was coming near. However, while the […]

Caucus Campaign Scenes From Day 1 Of The Iowa State Fair

It’s the most fun eleven days of the political season: the Iowa State Fair during the Iowa Caucus! The campaign festivities got off to a great start on Thursday with three presidential candidates (and a former POTUS) making speeches, shaking hands and eating pork chops-on-a-stick. Mike Huckabee, Jim Webb and Martin O’Malley traversed the fairgrounds and gave their pitch to the crowd at the Des Moines Register’s Soapbox (you can watch all the speeches in their entirety at the Register). Here’s our fun takeaways from the day (which, as always, turned into a way longer post than it needed to): […]

How Clinton’s Paid Family And Medical Leave Law Would Help Iowans

The United States loves to view itself as a world leader and pioneer in human rights issues. In reality, we are one of only three countries that do not provide some type of paid maternity leave, an issue that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has made a centerpiece of her campaign. She released a video on Mother’s Day that calls for guaranteed paid family leave, and she has since addressed the issue with enthusiasm. “Women who want to work should be able to do so without worrying everyday about how they’re going to take care of their child or what will […]