The Latest GOP Suppression Effort: The 2020 Census

The Trump administration’s plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census is their latest attempt to punish Democratic states. It’s another tactic in their broader efforts to suppress the vote. The same Republicans that have pushed strict voter ID laws are behind this attack to alter an accurate census count. The Kansas Secretary of State, Republican Kris Kobach, is the national architect of these voter ID laws. He implemented the most extreme Kansas voter ID requiring proof of citizenship. He has been defending the 2013 law in court this month. He wrote an opinion piece for Brietbart in […]

Thanks For A Great Year – The Plan Ahead For 2018

Starting Line is back from a much needed week-and-a-half break from writing over the holidays, though we were still plenty busy during that time. We’ve got a lot of great stories in the pipe for this week and next, but let’s first take a quick look back at our accomplishments in 2017. Let’s start with the most impressive factor: our readership. Starting Line ended 2017 with just under 2 million total views for the year. That’s easily double our previous two years. A good chunk of that was an explosion in views during the legislative session, each month of which […]

Iowa Now Dead Last In GDP Growth Under All-Republican Control

Very bad news this week for both Governor Kim Reynolds and the Republican-controlled Iowa Legislature. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported the second quarter economic growth by state (GDP). Iowa’s economic growth was a negative .7%, dead last among all 50 states. Of the 50 states, 48 had positive growth in this period. Only Iowa (-.7%) and South Dakota (-.3%) had a negative growth rate. While one quarter’s performance doesn’t predict future growth, it’s a huge embarrassment for the Iowa Republican Party. The Republican Governor and the GOP control majorities in both branches of the Legislature and have […]

Rod Blum’s Votes Have Put Veterans’ Healthcare At Risk

On May 4th, Congressman Rod Blum voted to repeal the ACA. On May 9th, he stood in front of a packed gym at a town hall and admitted voting for it even though, in his words, he knew “it was a bad bill.” Had this vote passed, 2,700 Iowa veterans would have lost their health care. Contrary to what many believe, not all veterans receive their health care from the VA. 20 million veterans rely on other forms of insurance to help cover medical expenses. Of that number, 1.8 million veterans are covered by Medicaid. As a veteran, this concerns me. The […]

Congress Doesn’t Operate Like You And Me

If our households operated the way the United States does, members of our extended families would be planning an intervention to get us to see the error of our ways. Why? Fifteen years ago, our household was on track to pay off our assorted debts. We were doing that by spending less than the paychecks we brought home. But now our household finances are in shambles. We gave up our fiscal discipline two decades ago and decided we could afford to be more freewheeling with our money. For the past 15 years, we have lived off our credit cards, spending […]

Josh Mandelbaum Wins Big In DSM With Water Quality-Focused Campaign

In one of Iowa’s most-watched municipal races on Tuesday, environmental attorney Josh Mandelbaum won the Des Moines City Council Ward 3 seat in convincing fashion, taking 56% in a three-way race. Former council member Mike Kiernan received 34%, while Democratic Socialist and Somali refugee contender Abshir Omar Mahamed got a respectable 9%. Mandelbaum (who announced his candidacy at a Starting Line event) replaces longtime council member Christine Hensley, a Republican who held onto the deeply-Democratic Des Moines district for over two decades. The race between Mandelbaum and Kiernan was the most expensive municipal race in the state. Mandelbaum raised an […]

Draft Dodger Trump Doesn’t Mind Sending Others To War

Why are Republicans so unwilling to speak up as this President with no military, no diplomatic and no elective office experience is recklessly making threats of imminent war with North Korea? His record shouldn’t give anyone confidence that he has a clue as to the appropriate or traditional diplomatic methods to avoid war. This President chose to avoid military service during the Vietnam war with a questionable draft-deferment based on note from his doctor. Then he lied and claimed to have been given a high draft number rather than a medical deferment. President Trump played football, tennis, squash and golf […]

Congressional, Sec. of State Dems Make Pitches At Wing Ding

Democratic activists from across Northern Iowa and beyond gathered in Clear Lake Friday night to hear Democratic candidates and leaders speak… and speak… and speak some more. 22 candidates, elected officials and leaders in all took the stage to address the crowd of about 400 attendees in the historic Surf Ballroom, interspersed with award presentations to local activists and various skits. The event moved along at a decent pace, however – many of the candidates in the crowded primary fields have gotten accustomed to giving short stump speeches. Seven gubernatorial candidates, six congressional contenders and both secretary of state candidates […]

Stop Republican Repeal Efforts At “Our Lives Are On The Line” Events

The Senate is moving ahead with the repeal of Obamacare with their vote on Tuesday to begin floor debate. However, hours after the first vote they failed to pass the repeal-and-replace proposal. That failed vote signaled the desperate straits the Republicans find themselves. They voted over and over for seven years to repeal Obamacare, but when they finally gained complete control of the House, Senate and Presidency they are at a stalemate. They are paralyzed to act, not because of the Democrats, but because they can’t reach a consensus among their own members. Republicans have violated every recognized rule for […]

Sioux City Baseball Player J.D. Scholten Takes On Steve King – Our Profile

Democrats have a new challenger in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District to take on Steve King: J.D. Scholten, a professional baseball player and paralegal from Sioux City. He’s returning to Iowa after playing professional baseball around the country and world, launching his campaign today against the controversial congressman. Kim Weaver withdrew from the race in early June after running against King in 2016 – Weaver endorsed Scholten upon his announcement. Spencer businesswoman Leann Jacobsen is also considering a run. Scholten’s campaign will be a homecoming of sorts. A 5th generation Iowan, Scholten was born in Ames and his family moved from Nevada, […]