The Iowa Caucus Emerges From 2016 In A Strong Position

A lot of American institutions came out worse for the ware from the volatile 2016 presidential election. Except for one: the Iowa Caucus. The always-at-risk lead-off contest will come out of this year in a much stronger situation than previously thought. A Donald Trump presidency and a Democratic Party in turmoil makes it considerably more likely that Iowa’s place in the primary process remains. Now, let me first make perfectly clear: Yes, there’s way bigger consequences that came out of this election, and no Democrat is going to be happy that the caucus is saved due to Donald Trump’s election. […]

Iowa Republicans: The Most Pro-Trump Party In The Country?

“We need to support Donald Trump and his choice for vice president because he will make America great again!” boomed Governor Terry Branstad at the Republican Party of Iowa’s state convention this May. “We have an opportunity once again to make America great again,” Senator Chuck Grassley said in a warm introduction of Trump in Pella way back in January, one of the first Republican U.S. Senators to stand with him on a stage. “If you vote for him, Donald Trump, as the Republican nominee, the Republican Party of Iowa and this Republican chair will be behind him one thousand […]

Democrats Choose Their Future At Epically Long 3rd District Convention

Iowa Democrats gathered at four district conventions around the state on Saturday to select national delegates from the Iowa Caucus. The results mirrored what happened back on caucus night, with Hillary Clinton maintaining her one-delegate lead from the Congressional district level. Other votes taken yesterday will likely shape the Iowa Democratic Party long into the future. Bernie Sanders supporters were elected to about half of the state central committee posts, many of whom are relative political newcomers and considerably younger than those currently serving. That committee has a big impact on how the state party is run, what projects it […]

Meet Iowa’s Next Crop Of Rising Young Political Reporters

Coming soon to a byline near you… Student journalists got a front row seat to national politics during this past year’s Iowa Caucus. The access and opportunities they had to interview presidential candidates and break news on the most fascinating campaign in decades was unmatched around the country, and many Iowa college students took full advantage. A number of student reporters at Iowa universities stood out in their coverage of both the Iowa Caucus and Iowa politics as a whole. And just like in the political operative world, there’s nothing better than having Iowa on your resume. So Starting Line thought […]

Men Comprise 82% of Ted Cruz’s Delegate Haul From Iowa Districts

In the fight to stop Donald Trump from winning the Republican nomination, opponents often point to his awful polling numbers in a matchup against Hillary Clinton. Historically terrible numbers among female voters are driving Trump’s theoretical thrashing in the November election. So it was perhaps a bit odd to see such a male-heavy slate of delegates come out of the district conventions, which were dominated by Ted Cruz supporters. Cruz backers handily won 11 of the 12 delegates up for grab at the district conventions on Saturday, which will badly damage Trump’s chances if the national convention goes to a […]

Trump Incompetence Lets Cruz Sweep Iowa’s 3rd District Delegates

Is it really that difficult to find three solid supporters for your candidate in an entire Congressional district? If you’re the Donald Trump campaign, the answer is yes. A clear contrast developed early between the Ted Cruz and Trump delegate operations at Iowa Republicans’ 3rd District convention in Creston on Saturday. Matt Schultz, a key Cruz endorser and on the campaign’s official slate of delegates, greeted attendees as they entered the building and had promotional materials on hand. Two of the three delegates on Trump’s initial official slate wouldn’t even commit to support Trump. Republicans from the district that covers […]

Some Big Questions For Democrats’ Iowa Caucus Review Committee

Late last week the Iowa Democratic Party released the list of members of its long-awaited caucus review commission, formed to take a look at how to improve the Democrats’ caucus process. The party says it’s part of their tradition in finding ways to better the caucus, but the scale of the effort is clearly in response to the considerable criticism laid on the IDP following the close contest on February 1st. The first big question is just whether this commission will accomplish real changes, or if it’ll simply serve as a face-saving measure for the IDP and Andy McGuire. There’s some […]

Clinton’s Iowa Caucus Win Looks More Impressive In Retrospect

The Clinton campaign celebrated their Iowa Caucus victory back on February 1st, but they had certainly hoped for a larger margin. Nearly two months later, however, that win is looking better and better after a string of blowout defeats to Bernie Sanders in other caucus states. Sanders finally made up a bit of the delegate gap between him and Clinton on Saturday with large margins of victories in the Washington (73%), Alaska (82%) and Hawaii (70%) caucuses. He still faces a nearly insurmountable task in overtaking Clinton’s national lead, but it was yet another day in which caucus states gave the […]

Polk County Democrats Convention Turns Into A Total Disaster

On Saturday Polk County Democrats held their county convention to select delegates to go on to the district and state convention. It was an utter catastrophe. The county convention started at 9:00 AM, with many attendees arriving much earlier. The proceedings did not finish until close to 8:30 PM. During that time delegates and alternates from caucus night sat through repeated recounts, credential checks and platform plank discussions. Rules were poorly explained, both Sanders and Clinton supporters yelled at one another and the county party, accusations of cheating swept through both sides, a Sanders supporter at one point jumped onto the […]

Clinton Maintains Iowa Delegate Win In County Conventions

Hillary Clinton’s campaign fought off a tough effort by Bernie Sanders’ operation in county conventions throughout the state to determine the next round of delegates that eventually end up at the national convention. At the end of the day, Clinton stood at 704 state delegates and Sanders had 700. That’s a slight improvement for both from caucus night’s final results, when Clinton had 700.47 and Sanders received 696.92. The big prize both campaigns sought was the 5th statewide delegate. In addition to assigning national delegates by congressional district, Iowa also has 9 statewide delegates. Because of Clinton’s narrow win on […]