The Whirlpool/Maytag Deal Has Foreign-Trade Lessons

Whirlpool’s $1.7 billion acquisition of Maytag, a storied Iowa brand of home appliances, offers a fascinating window into international trade and tariffs. At the time of the 2006 deal, Whirlpool was the largest appliance maker in the United States. Maytag was its biggest competitor. Together, they built about half of all washing machines sold in the U.S. Federal regulators worried about their new dominance, but the company said foreign competition, primarily from South Korea’s Samsung and LG, would keep Whirlpool’s market clout in check. That certainly occurred. Samsung and LG have outmaneuvered Whirlpool for laundry equipment sales since 2006, building […]

Tariffs Aren’t As Simple As Trump Believes

The school year is finished, but whether we like it or not, Iowans have been sent to summer school this year. The subject for our summer education: the economics of foreign trade and tariffs. Professor Donald Trump assured us this would be really simple to master and wouldn’t take very long. But Iowa farmers and the owners and managers of many businesses are now realizing the professor might need to brush up on the subject material before he teaches more lessons. The president’s tariffs have been imposed on goods produced by many of our overseas trading partners for sale to […]

A Rural Radio Reporter’s Tips For Messaging To Small Town Voters

Robert Leonard recently spoke with the Polk County Democrats about his experience with reporting about rural Iowa. An occasional New York Times contributor, Leonard explains how candidates of either party should better reach out to local press. Now that the Iowa state party conventions are over, the next stage of campaigning for elective office begins. Congratulations to all successful candidates of both parties as you seek to communicate to your existing or potential constituencies why you and your party offer the best vision to help move Iowa and our nation forward. To those of you who tried and fell short, thank […]

Prediction: You’re Going To Love Rita Hart

Fred Hubbell could not have made a better pick for his running mate. That’s just my opinion, of course, but I think it will become yours as well once you get to know Rita Hart. I first met Rita when I was the field director for the Senate Democrats in 2012. That was her first run for office in Senate District 49, which covers Clinton County and parts of rural Scott County. Though a first-time candidate, many of us were impressed with how sharp a political mind Rita already had. She won her strongly-contested primary by racking up lopsided margins […]

How The Rita Hart Pick Impacts The Senate Map

With Rita Hart joining Fred Hubbell on Democrats’ statewide ticket, Hart’s Senate District 49 now becomes an open seat for the party. And while this used to be a district with a decent Democratic lean thanks to the city of Clinton’s working-class base, Donald Trump carried it 51% to 42% in 2016. Hart was still heavily favored to win thanks to her past success in the rural areas of the district, but her withdrawal could turn this into a toss-up. Democrats will have to hold a special nominating convention, probably later this month, to put a new candidate on the […]

Hubbell Picks Rita Hart, Democrats’ Best Messenger For The Rural Vote

For his running mate pick, Fred Hubbell has looked east to rural Wheatland, Iowa, population 764. State Senator Rita Hart will be officially introduced as Democrats’ Lt. Governor nominee at the state party convention today. The Hubbell campaign announced the choice first thing this morning. Hart’s selection puts one of the party’s most credible rural voices on the ticket, and lifts up a legislator who, though not well-known among the larger activist crowd, was seen by many behind the scenes as a rising star with great potential. Some in Democratic circles see Hart as the party’s answer to Joni Ernst: […]

Some Negotiating. Kim Jong Un Gets Exactly What He Wanted

It appears that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un got exactly what his father and grandfather never could. President Trump elevated Kim, North Korea’s ruthless dictator, to a position on the world stage equivalent to the President of the United States. Posing in front of equal numbers of matched U.S. and North Korean flags gave this rogue and isolated nation a status reserved for our closest allies. Trump’s gushing praise of Kim, the leader of one of the most repressive authoritarian regimes in the world, is disgusting. Trump described Kim in the most charming terms. “He’s got a very good […]

A Clue To Fred Hubbell’s Lt. Governor Short List?

Fred Hubbell is slated to officially announce his pick for his Lt. Governor running mate at Iowa Democrats’ state convention this Saturday. It’s the last piece of business for the statewide Democratic ticket, and speculation about who Hubbell may choose is running rampant in various political circles. And there may be one clue sitting online as to who could be on a possible short list. As reader Taylor Gipple noticed, several website domains with potential Democratic ticket names were reserved on Monday, June 11. Here’s all the ones that Starting Line found on the ICANN domain registry look-up website: […]

Please, No Poison Pills In This Year’s Party Platform

This coming Saturday, June 16, the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) State Convention will ratify the 2018 platform. The draft platform represents balanced progressive Democratic positions on hundreds of issues hammered out by hundreds of activists over several weeks. It’s critical that the convention retain that balance and prevent the insertion of any extremist poison pills. We expect that by embracing our platform it will enhance rather than harm our Democratic candidates or elected officials. Recall the shock and negative fallout resulting from the poison pill resolution inserted into the 2016 IDP platform: We support, “Legalizing all drugs.” The immediate public […]

Ep38: Primary Results Aftermath & L.G. Speculation

 Iowa Starting Line Podcast host Pat Rynard discusses the aftermath of the Iowa primary, including optimism for the exciting Democratic ticket, who Fred Hubbell may pick for Lt. Governor and what Starting Line will be up to during the next two weeks.