Disillusioned Young Conservatives Search For Identity In 2016

A lot of attention has focused on the Democrats’ difficulties with young voters – typically their best voting bloc – this year, but Republicans are dealing with a similar – if smaller – rebellion among their youthful backers. Donald Trump’s candidacy has many young Republicans and conservatives questioning their loyalty to the party and searching for different options. Some of those young ex-Republicans showed up at an event for Evan McMullin in Des Moines this past week. McMullin, an independent candidate drafted to give frustrated rank-and-file Republicans a conservative choice, drew a notably young crowd to his Des Moines event […]

Iowa Republicans Have Gone Trump

A guest post from House Leader Mark Smith As a lifetime resident of Iowa, I am proud of our state’s progressive history. We were vehemently opposed to slavery from our beginning days and we were one of the first states to call for public education for all children.  We were one of the first states to allow people of color to purchase land and Arabella Manfield’s admission to the Iowa Bar in 1869 made her the first female attorney in the United States. That’s why our motto – “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain” – has […]

Ted Cruz Positioned Himself Well For 2020 General, Not Just Primary

Oh, Ted Cruz. Never change. The Texas Senator stole the scene last night at the RNC convention by refusing to endorse Donald Trump in his speech. If there was any doubt why, he followed it up this morning by saying he wouldn’t be a “servile puppy dog” by endorsing a man who personally attacked his wife and father. The focus today is what it means for conservative voters in 2016 and Cruz’s almost-certain run in the Republican primary again in 2020. But Cruz achieved much more than positioning himself as the true conservative who wouldn’t follow Trump into terrible defeat. […]

Joni Ernst Gets Shafted At RNC, Probably For The Best

By the time Iowa Senator Joni Ernst finally took the stage at the RNC convention last night, the crowd in the arena was smaller than what she would typically find at a Montgomery County chili dinner. Ernst began her speech around 11:10 PM Eastern, missing out on the primetime spot she was supposed to have. It may have been for the best, however, as she proceeded to give a so-so speech that failed to capitalize on the former combat veteran’s personal appeal. The lead-up to her big moment must have been excruciating for Ernst. Melania Trump was moved up on […]

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 […]

Key Takeaways From The Iowa Primary Results

Iowans didn’t have to stay up too late last night to see who came out on top of the main primary races on both the Democratic and Republican side. For the most part things played out as people expected. Starting Line will spend part of the next week taking some dives into specific primary results and what it means for the general. For the moment, let’s take a look at some of the main takeaways from the night:   Hogg Keeps It Close, Has A Bright Future Things looked bleak for Rob Hogg when the Des Moines Register released a poll on […]

Iowa Republicans Imploding, Senator Bolts Party Over Trump Racism

For weeks Republican Party of Iowa chair Jeff Kaufmann has traveled the state as part of his #UnitedIowa tour, telling activists and media that they’re “ahead of schedule” in coming together for their presidential nominee. Well, not so fast. If Iowa Republicans are ahead of schedule on anything, it’s the complete breakup and implosion of the party. Today Senator David Johnson announced he has changed his voter registration from Republican to No Party over the “racial bias of a bigot,” referring to Donald Trump. In a statement he blasted Trump’s “racist remarks” about the judge in his Trump University lawsuit. And Johnson even compared […]

At GOP Fundraiser Tamara Scott Basically Prays For Hillary’s Arrest For Benghazi

Iowa Republicans gathered in Des Moines last night for their annual Lincoln Day Dinner, one of the state party’s big fundraisers of the year. Last year they had 11 presidential hopefuls speak. This year was an understandably smaller affair, with their keynote speech given by Kris “Tanto” Paronto, an Army Ranger who was part of the team that responded to the Benghazi attack. Paronto fit the Republicans’ anti-Hillary theme of the night well. As Kathie Obradovich wrote, the evening was much more about opposing Hillary Clinton’s candidacy than it was promoting Donald Trump’s, even if RPI Chair Jeff Kaufmann stressed […]

No Joint Fundraising Talks Yet Between Trump and Iowa GOP

Politico reported earlier this week that the Donald Trump campaign is looking to set up a joint fundraising operation between them and the RNC and state parties. The structure they’re envisioning would allow for major donors to write much bigger checks that would eventually end up in the Trump and RNC’s coffers. It would also mark a more formal collaboration between Trump and the party infrastructure. So far, however, those talks haven’t made their way to Iowa yet. “We have not had specific conversations,” Republican Party of Iowa Chair Jeff Kaufmann told reporters last night. “We took a neutrality pledge, […]

Trump’s Right On One Thing: The GOP Delegate Selection Is Awful

Each passing weekend Donald Trump’s chances of securing the Republican Party’s nomination slips further and further away. It’s on those Saturdays typically when party meetings convene to select individual people to serve as national delegates to Cleveland from the district and state level in many states. And Trump’s getting killed in that process. The Trump campaign’s failure to organize for these delegate selections has undermined him plenty, but that doesn’t mean his point about an unfair process is completely unfounded. Sure, you can make fun of Trump for getting shut out in Colorado, but who on earth can defend the […]