Are Divisive Debates Helpful To Iowans?

Last night, the CNN-hosted Democratic debates featured a lengthy, sometimes-heated discussion about health care policy. The heat was purposeful. The moderators paid special attention to having candidates respond to each other’s answers. To mixed results. In Ames, Iowa, gathered caucus-goers reacted positively to some of the incendiary moments like Bernie saying he “wrote the damn plan!” and Warren questioning Delaney’s motivation for running if he wasn’t going to fight for something. On the second night, the moderators didn’t need to work nearly as hard. The candidates addressed each other readily, specifically directing some of their remarks at one of their […]

Iowa Debate-Watchers Unsure On Health Care Differences

Undecided Iowa voters watching this round of Democratic debates aren’t that interested in the finer points of the private option vs. Medicare for All discussion. They want health care for all, they say, but they’re largely unsure how it should be achieved. Voters at Des Moines debate watch parties both Tuesday and Wednesday night weren’t strongly attached to any specific approach the candidates brought up, and some were simply confused as to the differences between the plans. “I don’t understand all the issues with Medicare for All that well,” said Bob Raker of Des Moines. “But they might be wrestling […]

Native American Outreach Rising In Importance For Democrats

The first gathering of presidential candidates to talk specifically about issues important to Native Americans will take place next month in an Iowa city well-versed in the concerns of tribal nations. The Frank LaMere Presidential Candidate Forum is a first-of-its-kind event, “focused entirely on the concerns of Native Americans.” The two-day event will be held Aug. 19 and 20 in Sioux City in Western Iowa. Sioux City’s population is about 2% Native American, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. With 1,373 American Indian and Alaska Natives in Sioux City, it has the largest native population in Iowa, according to the […]

Meet The Judges Who Will Decide ACA’s Fate

Judges in photo from left to right: Carolyn Dineen King, Kurt Engelhardt, Jennifer Walker Elrod. In December of last year, headlines screamed about the end of the Affordable Care Act. A district court judge in Texas had ruled that the whole health care law is unconstitutional in the most recent Texas v. United States case. He based his decision on the 2017 repeal of the ACA’s individual mandate that penalized people who didn’t have insurance, and progressives and conservatives across the country have called O’Connor’s reasoning faulty. Now, the case is in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, where a three-judge […]

Ernst Claims McConnell Not Blocking Election Interference Bill

At a recent town hall meeting in Wright County, Sen. Joni Ernst was asked why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had blocked election security bills from being debated. In a video of the exchange with Ernst, a member of the audience said he was “baffled” by McConnell’s inaction on bills to make “our voting system more secure.” The man likely was referring to bipartisan legislation in the House and Senate to combat hacking of state election systems, some of which McConnell has allowed to pass through the Senate. A Democratic proposal recently approved by the House to allocate $1 billion for […]

Trump’s EPA Pulls Another Bait-And-Switch On Farmers

In a whirlwind week for trade and agricultural policy, the EPA’s Andrew Wheeler defended their approach to Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) in a closed-door meeting with farm state senators. In other parts of a busy day, President Trump approved $16 billion in trade aid for 2019, but 2018 trade-aid analysis shows that a majority of the payments went to the biggest, most successful farms. SRE Update: EPA to Continue Down Current Path According to four sources, Wheeler said in the private meeting that the program has had no negative impact on ethanol demand. This comes just a day after a […]

Buttigieg’s Labor Plan Will Protect Women, Undocumented Workers

Pete Buttigieg unveiled a plan to end the systematic attack on labor and organized workers during his most recent trip to Iowa. His plan will allow undocumented workers to report labor violations without fear of repercussions, force companies to reveal their gender pay gap numbers and his administration will give contractual preference to companies who treat their workers fairly. “In the last 30 to 40 years, the stagnation of income for the middle class and the decline of union membership have happened basically at the same time. That’s not a coincidence,” Buttigieg told a crowd in Ankeny. “That’s the reason.” […]

Who Convinced Iowans In The 2nd Democratic Debate (1st Night)

Iowans watched from bars, house parties and restaurants tonight as ten Democratic candidates faced off in the first night of the second debate. Team Starting Line was once again out at neutral debate watch parties organized by Democratic Party groups. Our reporters went to Ames, Des Moines, Keokuk and Winterset to see how caucus-goers reacted to the contentious back-and-forth between the White House hopefuls. Here’s what they thought of the candidates and the policy discussions: Winterset Debate Watch Party Lynette Judd, 52, Winterset Judd was interested in the Medicare for All discussion, and was pleased to hear big ideas being […]

3 Democrats Meet In Sioux City For 1st IA-Sen Candidate Forum

Three Democrats participated Tuesday in the first multi-candidate event of Iowa’s U.S. Senate race, introducing themselves to Siouxland voters. Siouxland Progressive Women hosted the forum in Sioux City with Eddie Mauro, a businessman and former educator from Des Moines; Kimberly Graham, a children’s rights attorney from Indianola; and Michael Franken, a retired Navy admiral. About 70 locals were on hand to listen. Franken has yet to formally enter the race, but is expected to announce his candidacy late in August. This appears to have been one of his first public appearances as he seriously contemplates a run. Theresa Greenfield, a small […]

Steve Bullock Recalls Stories Of Working As Labor Lawyer

Instead of bedtime stories, Montana Governor Steve Bullock’s children used to fall asleep hearing the stories of the people he was about to represent as a union-side labor lawyer. In an interview with Iowa Starting Line earlier this month, Bullock spoke about his experiences representing organized workers. Bullock specifically mentioned one man who was a landfill operator in Billings, Montana. He was passed over for a job because he couldn’t read well. “For labor arbitration … the lawyer on the other side was just beating him up for the fact he couldn’t read, even though reading had nothing to do […]