Ep54: Post-Labor Day Phase For Legislative Races

 Iowa Starting Line Podcast host Pat Rynard talks with Greg Hauenstein about how state legislative campaigns change after Labor Day, whether the many independent candidates on the ballot will affect any congressional race, and what the Polk County Democrats’ Steak Fry speaker line-up looks like.

Republicans Should Reflect On McCain’s Life, Reevaluate Their Path

Senator McCain’s nickname as a maverick referred to his history of bipartisanship and putting country before party. His very visible friendships with former Democratic Senators Joe Biden, John Kerry, Russ Feingold, Joe Lieberman and the late Ted Kennedy have become the exception for most Republicans. The loss of Republican bipartisanship has lead to the deepening tribal warfare, contributing to legislative stalemates on issues like healthcare, immigration reform and foreign policy. Perhaps more concerning than the loss of bipartisanship is the loss of Republicans’ commitment to putting country before party. McCain was one of the few Republicans left that elevated the […]

Will Governor’s Race Come Down To Medicaid Or Younkers?

When Iowans enter the voting booth in November, which will weigh more heavily on their mind: Younkers or Medicaid? That seems to be what the race for governor is boiling down to at this point as Governor Kim Reynolds and Fred Hubbell are now months into their TV ad campaigns. Reynolds hopes to turn Hubbell’s business executive experience from the 1980s into a liability. Hubbell wants voters to focus on the broken privatized Medicaid system that many see Reynolds mismanaging. This week, Hubbell rolled out his hardest-hitting ad to date, one that features a quadriplegic man whose in-home care was cut […]

Neo-Nazi Robocall Hits Iowa On Tibbetts’ Murder: “Kill Them All.”

A white supremacist group appears to be running robocalls in Iowa over the Mollie Tibbetts murder. A Starting Line reader in the Des Moines area sent in a recording of a robocall that they received Tuesday evening around 8:00 PM. In the recording, a group called The Road To Power claims responsibility for the message that calls Tibbetts’ alleged murderer (an undocumented immigrant from Mexico) an “Aztec hybrid” that is part of a culture of “low-IQ, bottom-feeding savages.” It suggests that were Tibbetts still alive, she would support killing all Mexican immigrants. The group calls for deporting all immigrants. The […]

Republicans Bash Immigrants, But Can’t Survive Without Them

Iowa Republicans latest attacks on immigrants have their agricultural constituents worried about losing their critical workforce. Following the tragic murder of Mollie Tibbitts, Republicans from Trump on down saw an opportunity to attack Democrats on the issue of a broken immigration system. Trump immediately blamed Tibbetts murder by an undocumented immigrant on Democrats. “Democrat immigration policies are destroying innocent lives and spilling very innocent blood,” Trump said. “We believe that any party that puts criminal aliens before American citizens should be out of office, not into office.” Governor Reynolds, Senator Grassley and Senator Ernst all wasted no time in blaming […]

Ep53: New Caucus Rules & Julian Castro Interview

 Iowa Starting Line Podcast host Pat Rynard talks with former IDP executive director Norm Sterzenbach about the DNC’s changes to caucus states and superdelegates. And we sit down with Julian Castro to discuss his potential 2020 run and what he sees as key to Democrats’ success.

Pro-Choice Leaders: Iowans Are The “Most Powerful People” In Kavanaugh Fight

Don’t believe the news and political analysis that Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court is a done deal, a panel of national pro-choice leaders and activists told Iowans this week. While Iowa’s own Senator Chuck Grassley has been trying to push forward hearings for President Donald Trump’s choice to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy before all of Kavanaugh’s past documents are released, this past week’s developments in the Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort cases have created new problems. Several Democratic senators are now arguing that a president implicated in a crime that undermines the legitimacy of his presidency should […]

Reynolds’ Team Helped Man Wanting To Run On Mollie Tibbetts’ Murder, He Says

A man with a long history of bizarre, racist social media posts, including those which claimed Barack Obama was a secret Muslim, thanked Governor Kim Reynolds today for her team’s assistance in trying to get him on the ballot for Attorney General. [Update: Starting Line hears that while Republicans initially helped Anderson with signatures, around noon on Saturday the party and Reynolds pulled their support from his effort.] West Des Moines Republican and attorney Patrick Anderson waged a last-minute effort this week to collect enough signatures to oppose Attorney General Tom Miller on the November ballot. No Republican had yet […]

A Looming 2020 Litmus Test: Lock Him Up?

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in national politics over the past several years, it’s that the issues we think will matter to voters are not always the ones that do come the election. Media firestorms can change the public attention’s at any moment, while new policy ideas can catch on fast. Medicare-for-all was hardly discussed before catching on in recent years with a significant part of the Democratic Party. Abolishing ICE had a quick rise on the left. And Donald Trump brought back talk of trade policy in a way others hadn’t for years during the 2016 campaign. So, […]

A Look At How A Julian Castro Run Could Play Out In Iowa

For an initial Iowa visit to test the presidential waters, Julian Castro hit all the usual marks last week. The former Housing and Urban Development secretary spent his three days in the lead-off caucus state meeting activists, touring the State Fair and introducing his life story and overall vision for the country. But many of his specific stops – and the warm receptions he got at them – pointed to the strategy he may use if he does throw his hat in the 2020 ring. At age 43, Castro is more accomplished than many of the potential White House hopefuls […]