Why Democrats Need To Start Playing Politics

There are few strategists on our side of the political spectrum and even fewer that devote themselves completely to the art of how to influence voters.  We don’t have the equivalent of a Karl Rove or Frank Luntz. And even if we did no one would listen. Dems still think truth will prevail on its own and good policies will win the day.  If only that was the case we would have it made. But we are now in a propagandized twilight zone of fake news where conspiracy theories abound and being right is not enough to win. And if you don’t win, the truth loses and all those great policies never make it past the good idea phase.

So say what you will about James Carville, he is the closest thing to Karl Rove we have ever had. He is widely acknowledged as a brilliant political mind and one of the few successful strategists on the Democratic side. There are no up-and-comers I can think of to take his place. Democrats, progressive candidates and leadership need to hear what he has to say and start focusing on WINNING not just on being RIGHT. Anyone can take the correct positions on policy but knowing how to do that AND WIN is what Democrats need to figure out. Here James issues a dire warning to Democrats. I hope he’s not right.

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Iowa Press Has A Great Program… For A Change

I’ve been critical of Iowa Press. I just want them to be better because they have a key role to play informing the citizens of Iowa. In case you missed it the most recent edition of Iowa Press is definitely worth watching – for a change – (that’s an Al Franken podcast joke).

John Deeth and Ras Smith were the guests and shared differing views on what should happen with the Iowa caucuses. Both did a fantastic job, were articulate and made great points. This was not a polarized talkingpointfest like you frequently see on Iowa Press. This weekend’s program was packed with useful information for viewers. And not just about the caucuses.

That said, there is always at least one hostile or petty question from the panel for Democrats. This week two of them came from Brianne Pfannenstiel, chief political reporter for The Des Moines Register. We’ll award her this week’s prize for worst question for one that she posed of John Deeth:  “So why should Democrats across the state kind of cave to what Johnson County believes is best?”

Where did that come from?  That is the kind of question designed to… I give up I don’t know what it was designed to do but it wasn’t to elicit useful information for viewers. Nobody in the studio was arguing that the state should “cave” to the views of Johnson county.  Deeth was invited on the program and introduced as an activist and a veteran caucus organizer from Iowa City. He was not holding himself out as a representative of the views of Democrats in Johnson county. In these dire times, is that the best question the Des Moines Register’s chief political reporter could come up with?  Just because the guest is from Iowa City?  Says a lot about why we are where we are today.

Pfannenstiel also carried water for the Republicans by asking Deeth for a response to a comment made by Iowa GOP chair Jeff Kaufmann.  The comment was nothing more than a typical opportunistic political slam against Democrats of no value to anyone so I didn’t include it here.  In Pfannenstiel’s defense, it would be hard to find a useful contribution from an Iowa Republican to include.  If you’re really interested in Kaufmann’s political rhetoric go have a look in the transcript.

The two top pieces of information from the program:  Deeth said the safest best way to make sure your vote gets counted is to vote early and in person. Don’t vote by mail unless you have no other option.

The other important information in the program for Iowans to know came from Ras Smith and is actually quite shocking.  Kay Henderson asked Smith why he was leaving the legislature.  Here’s what came next:

“I mentioned that I feel like politics are becoming more elitist. Think about this, for instance, we have folks who are buying new homes, moving to new districts to run for a job that pays $25,000 a year. We would likely have a dozen races that cost six figures, maybe half of those —

Henderson: For the legislature?

Smith: For the legislature. Maybe half of those will be over $500,000. Maybe one or two, maybe even three will come to a million dollars for a job that pays $25,000 a year.

That spells out corruption or at very least big money legally buying our state legislature. How is it that  veteran Iowa political journalist Kay Henderson seemed unaware of this?  Let’s give her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she was aware,  maybe she just wanted to make sure viewers were clear that Smith was talking about state legislative races, not congress.

Will the Iowa press make an issue out of it or report on it further? Or will they continue to fixate on petty issues? I predict the Iowa press will continue to coddle Reynolds and the Republican party. But no one on the panel could credibly challenge what Smith said next.

When asked by Kay Henderson what he would be doing after retiring from the legislature this year Smith articulated what everyone knows but the press refuses to say.

“I’m going to continue.. buffering local governments from the impact of what I believe is a Governor who has it out for Iowa, who seems to be gutting our state from the inside out, who doesn’t seem to care about the people of the state anymore. And so for me I’m not running for the legislature — to rebuild local government so that we can withstand the assaults that we’re seeing from the legislature and hopefully getting out of there any day now.

Erin Murphy got the last word on the caucuses. Blog for Iowa has been saying this and posting about it for years. “I hear professor Dennis Goldford of Drake University in my head saying, first is only important because the media decided it was.”

Read the transcript of the program here

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The High Five

Ince more we bring you Progress Iowa’s Friday High Five. I don’t honestly know why Republicans still have the legislature in session. I guess their desire to gut Iowa’s public school system is strong.

We made it to Friday!

Thank you to everyone who was able to attend our Rural American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) training and the Waterloo Women’s Roundtable this week! We have some more exciting trainings coming up next week too!

Next Tuesday, May 17th, Progress Iowa is hosting an ARPA Letter-to-the-Editor training at 7 p.m. You can register for that event here: Crafting Letters to the Editor. And on Thursday, May 19th, our team is hosting a training on inclusive activism at 7 p.m. You can register for that event here: Making Activism Inclusive.

Once you’ve registered for those events, check out today’s top story:

1. ADVOCATING FOR BLACK WOMEN’S HEALTH: The COVID-19 pandemic forced into light the countless health disparities experienced by Black Americans. A group in Des Moines is working to address some of these issues and disparities between Black women and White women’s health in the state of Iowa.

Black Women for Healthy Living is working to improve medical care for Black women across the state and encouraging women to speak up when they are having pains. Join us and share this message of encouragement:

Click to tweet: It’s time to end the health disparities between white Iowans and Black Iowans, especially when it comes to maternal health! We need our elected leaders to work on solving real issues & ensure quality healthcare for ALL. #Iowa

After you share that message, let’s take a look back at some of our top stories from this week:

2. WE MUST PROTECT PUBLIC EDUCATION: Though we’ve passed the 100th day of the 2022 Iowa Legislative session, lawmakers in Des Moines haven’t finished their work yet. Governor Reynolds is still pushing for school vouchers as the end of Iowa’s legislative session grows closer. These vouchers will take public, taxpayer money and direct it to private institutions that are not held to the same standards or accountability as public schools. We believe all Iowan students deserve access to a fair and quality education, regardless of their income status, skin color, or zip code, and that’s what our public school system provides.

You can use the Iowa State Education Association toolkit today to reach out to your Representative and tell them to vote “No” on school vouchers.

3. GRASSLEY AND ERNST VOTE AGAINST WOMEN’S HEALTH PROTECTION ACT: Unfortunately, Republican Senators like Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley voted Wednesday against a bill, introduced by Democrats, that would have put the impact of Roe v. Wade into law. This law would have codified access to abortion services and a person’s right to privacy. Overturning Roe v. Wade strips individuals of their fundamental rights. We must hold Senators Grassley and Ernst accountable and advocate for comprehensive healthcare. Join us and share this message below.

Click to tweet: I believe that no matter our income or where we live, Iowans deserve the freedom to access safe and legal abortion protected by #RoeVWade! BTW a majority of Iowans agree @ChuckGrassley @SenJoniErnst #Iowa

4. CORPORATE PRICE GOUGING IS HURTING IOWANS: Iowans work hard every day. But the things that cost and matter the most — a roof over our heads, childcare for our kids, healthcare for our families — have long been put out of reach, so wealthy corporations and billionaires can pay us less than they owe and rake in record profits. This week’s report proves that President Biden’s policies are working. Inflation is slowing down and the U.S. unemployment rate remains at a near historic low. We must demand that our elected leaders here in Iowa follow in the President’s footsteps and act to reduce the cost of housing, childcare, prescription drugs and healthcare, so we can afford all that we need for our families.

5. REYNOLDS CIRCUMVENTS LOCAL SCHOOL BOARD: Last week, Governor Reynolds and Congresswoman Ashley Hinson attended a private meeting with parents in the Linn-Mar school district, a meeting that was closed off to the press and caught the majority of the school board by surprise. Now, the school board members are questioning why this meeting happened and why they weren’t informed of it. What we know about the meeting is that Governor Reynolds used it as an opportunity to push for her extreme school vouchers bill, which would take taxpayer dollars away from public schools and provide a lower quality education for our public school students.

Want to hear more from our team? You can go to our online news blog, Potluck, to hear from Iowans and leaders around the state. Want to help progressive messaging and policy in the state of Iowa? Sign up at ProgressIowa.org to volunteer, donate, and hear more from our team!

Thanks for reading, and we’ll get back with you Monday for another Hive Five!

– The Progress Iowa Team

Progress Iowa | P.O. Box 548 | Des Moines, IA 50302

Posted in 2022 Election campaign, iowa legislature 2022, Republican Policy | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Sunday Funday: Roe v. Wade Won’t Go Away Edition

For those in the now Trumpinista party who think that if they and their media lackeys simply ignore the upcoming SCOTUS decision that the effects on their election chances will not be effected. Millions of women around the country stood up and said “Hell, No, We won’t forget!” 

Methinks the radical right stuck their hand in a hornets nest full of really mad hornets. Well, as James Carville always says “When your opponent is drowning, throw them an anchor!”

Another interesting week.

A) Near Palm Beach, Florida as an airplane pilot fell unconscious and the plane was landed by a passenger with no experience guided by whom?

B) Instant karma going to get you. Karma came calling in South Carolina where Joseph McKinnon died while doing what?

C) In a real surprise the January 6th Committee subpoenaed five members of what group?

D) Rallies across Iowa and the country took place yesterday protesting what upcoming SCOTUS decision?

E) What really, really rare type of storm for Iowa hit Northwest Iowa Thursday night?

F) Elon Musk started the week by saying he would lift the ban on what individual when he takes over Twitter?

G) By the end of the week, Musk seemed to be looking for an escape clause, pausing his upcoming purchase of  Twitter over what issue?

H) According to an analysis by Brown University , approximately what percentage of adults could have been saved from death had 100% of adults been vaccinated?

I) As the Republican Party internal war rages, Governor Kemp in Georgia picked up what endorsement in defiance of Trump’s endorsements there?

J) WNBA star Brittney Griner’s detention in what country has been extended by a month?

K) Maine senator Susan Collins called police after protestors in front of her house did what?

L) Protestors at Justice Alito’s home were treated to wine and cheese by whom?

M) What Scandinavian country will reverse a long standing policy and apply for NATO membership this weekend?

N) The governor of what state defended policy that would force impregnated incest victims to carry their baby to term?

O) Scientists at the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration made huge news with a picture of what Thursday?

P) The nationwide manhunt for an Alabama escaped killer Casey White and his prison guard helper Vicky White ended Monday night in what city?

Q) Russia’s ambassador to Poland was attacked with what as he attended a Victory Day (or VE Day) ceremony in Warsaw?

R) In Nebraska, Republican governor candidate Charles Herbster, despite 8 allegations of sexual misconduct, still got what percentage of the vote?

S) The former president in an early meeting asked if China had a weapon that caused what?

T) The shortage of what food product is so critical that the Biden Administration will be working to alleviate the shortage?

For Republicans, the question is never, “Who is responsible?” The question is, “Who snitched?” – Middle Age Riot


A) The air traffic controller at the Palm Beach airport

B) burying his girlfriend whom he had just killed by strangulation

C) The US House of Representatives 

D) The overturning of Roe v. Wade

E) a haboob. This is a high wind blackout sandstorm (or dirt) that usually happen in desserts

 F) Trump

G) The percentage of fake or robot accounts on the website.

H) nearly 50%  (319,000 of 641,000) 

I) Mike Pence – that should get Kemp half a dozen votes

J) Russia

K) drew a message on her sidewalk with chalk.

L) His neighbors. Apparently Alito is not liked by his neighbors

M) Finland

N) Mississippi – Tate Reeves. (Kind hearkens back to a precious era in Mississippi)

O) the black hole at the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way

P) Evansville, Indiana

Q) Red paint

R) 30% – he only lost by 3%

S) He asked over and over if China had a “hurricane gun” that could create large man-made hurricanes.

T) Baby food. If they can do what they did for covid vaccines, the shortage should be cleared up quickly.

Posted in #trumpresistance, Humor | 1 Comment

Idle Thoughts As Summer Comes In

  • Slowly, despite continued help from the mainstream media, Republicans are revealing themselves to be the hypocritical, selfish, greedy authoritarians that we have always known they were. It is sad that destroying Roe v. Wade was what it took to get most of the country’s attention. Maybe now people will listen? No, I doubt it also.
  • I find a real incredible contrast that governmental units have responded so quickly and decisively to the bird flu crisis. This is the way things should work. When humans were threatened with a killer pandemic nearly 2.5 years ago, our governments responded with a shrug of the shoulders. Corporate Kim Reynolds immediate response back then was to keep the hog operations running as people died. Just my take on things.
  • This summer’s double whammy of Justice(?) Alito’s hugely unpopular and very badly written and thought out opinion striking down Roe V. Wade coupled with live hearings of the January 6th Committee should make for a toxic environment for all Republicans from the county courthouse to the nation’s US House. Or to put it another way, they will finally reap what they have sown for decades.
  • Paul Cogan tweeted Not a single elected Democrat has to lie about where they were on January 6th. None. I just thought I would tweet that.”
  • In case you have forgotten, so far only two (2) Republicans had enough guts to do the right thing FOR THE COUNTRY about January 6th. They are Liz Cheney and Adam Kinsinger. Kinsinger will be leaving congress and Cheney has essentially been removed from her party.
  • Interesting in my lifetime we have gone from a country that wouldn’t elect a Catholic president to a country that has six Catholics on the nine member SCOTUS. Five of those are from the extreme conservative wing of the Catholic Church. Justice Gorsuch is now Anglican, but was raised Catholic. Justice Sotomayer is Catholic but from the progressive side of the ledger.
  • Our nation has taken a huge step toward dissolving due to the insurrection on January 6th. Not because of the insurrection itself, but because of the Trump followers and political cowards who do not have the spine to stand up to one human being. If Trump and his goons are exonerated of crimes in connection with January 6th, it shows our whole justice system to be a sham.
  • Our Justice system is already pretty much of a sham. Perdue pharmacy kills thousands with its opioids and the owners are (so far) let off with a tap on the wrist. A woman in Texas has a miscarriage and was going to be tried for murder.
  • The Supreme Court appointed George W. Bush to be president in 2000. Bush appointed Alito and Roberts to the Court. The Court repealed contribution laws for political campaigns. Money became huge in politics with a lopsided amount going to the right. They win, then they gerrymander. Balances shift and a minority of the US population has enough seats in congress to stop almost everything.
  • The Republicans make rules out of thin air to stuff the Supreme Court with political hacks. First chance they get BANG! There goes women’s reproductive rights! See why it is so important to vote.
  • Speaking of voting, we will be driving down to our county auditor’s next Wednesday vote early in the primary. I am not telling you what to do, but I for one prefer to vote in person in the auditor’s office. 
  • Democrats have great candidates up and down the ballot from whoever gets to defeat Grassley to Diedre DeJear for governor to Christina Bohannan, Liz Mathis and Cindy Axne for US representatives to all the fine people running for state and local offices. Leadership and competence up and down the line.
  • Meanwhile Republicans up and down the line will have the stench of their abortion banning decision to deal with along with the revelations that their leader tried to end our democracy. Let us hope our new media is up to the task of asking the questions that expose them for what they are.
  • Five sitting Republican congressmembers have been subpoenaed to testify to the January 6th Committee. A highly unusual step, but it was the biggest single act against our government since the Civil War. Here is hoping they will do the right thing and own up to what they did.
  • One of those subpoenaed was Jim Jordan of Ohio. I believe he was in Iowa recently campaigning for Mariannette Miller-Meeks. Nice crowd she hangs with.

Posted in 2022 Election campaign, SCOTUS | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Republican Party Surrenders To TFG

Well, now we know what he meant. Very bad for women

Now that primary season is upon us throughout the land, it is very interesting to see that what was once the Republican Party is being primaried out of existence by its one time leader, the previous president. Just Tuesday, The Former Guy (TFG as he is known throughout the cyber world) had candidates challenging what were once regular Republicans in primaries in West Virginia and Nebraska.

TFG has become the major issue in Republican politics this year. A Republican politician is either endorsed by TFG or he or she isn’t endorsed by TFG. The issue that gets an endorsement from TFG is whether or not a candidate supports TFG’s big lie that the 2020 election was a fraud. That is it. 

The kind of candidate that is willing to sell their soul for a TFG endorsement is a sad character indeed. But the TFG endorsement is powerful. His followers vote. His endorsed candidates in West Virginia won, one defeating an incumbent representative. His endorsed candidate in Nebraska lost, but there were some really bad extraneous circumstances involving sexual assault allegations.

So far TFG endorsed candidates are winning and winning big, but this is the primary.  Thus primary by primary TFG has basically taken firm control of what was once the Republican Party. I think we can dispense with the name “Republican.” This party has no relationship to Republicans of any other vintage.

Today’s TFG Party is much closer to the extreme right politics of Viktor Orban in Hungary. They are only distantly related to Ronald Reagan and certainly no relation to former party heroes Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower.

This new party is being built in two ways. The first we described above where TFG is challenging those in the current party in primaries and winning. This is causing a major shift to an even more extreme right wing stance among both current party regulars and primary challengers. Even as current party regulars go even further to the right than  they have ever gone, they are finding themselves outflanked to the right by challengers.

The other way the new party is being built is by having the old guard simply surrender to avoid a primary challenge. In Iowa we saw such a surrender from the old Republican Party to Trump at the state fairgrounds early last October, when Iowa Republicans from Grassley on down lined up to kiss Trump’s ring: 

Sen. Chuck Grassley gave a stirring, 25-second explanation of why he was accepting former President Donald Trump’s endorsement last night: solely because it would help him politically.

The 88-year-old senator briefly took the stage with Trump before a crowd of thousands of energized Trump fans in Des Moines on Saturday evening.

“I was born at night, but not last night,” Grassley said while standing next to Trump. “So if I didn’t accept the endorsement of a person that’s got 91% of the Republican voters in Iowa, I wouldn’t be too smart. I’m smart enough to accept that endorsement.”

Kim Reynolds, Mariannette Miller-Meeks and Ashley Hinson were all there to supplicate themselves before Trump and surrender to his new political order. We wonder how smart that will look as the January 6th Committee starts revealing Trump’s deep involvement in the attempt to overthrow our government. 

In return for Trump’s endorsement Grassley et alia silently agree to support Trump’s Big Lie. Also they sign on to the even more extreme politics of what was the Republican Party. This includes an absolute ban on abortions, ending gay marriage and ending Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare.

This also includes the unholy entanglement of Church and State that Republicans charged into to get Ronald Reagan elected. Historian Heather Cox Richardson had some observations on this in her sub stack newsletter Thursday:  

“The modern Republican Party rose to power in 1980 promising to slash government intervention in the economy. But that was never a terribly popular stance, and in order to win elections, party leaders wedded themselves to the religious right. For decades, party leaders managed to deliver economic liberties to business leaders by tossing increasingly extreme rhetoric and occasional victories to the religious right. Now, though, that radicalized minority is driving the party. It has thrown overboard the idea of smaller government to drive economic growth and embraced the idea that a strong government must enforce the religious and social beliefs of their base on the rest of the country.

This religiously based government wants to control not just individuals, but also businesses. We are seeing not only the apparent overturning of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, but also the criminalization of contraception, attacks on gay and trans rights, laws giving the state the power to design school curricula, fury at immigrants, book banning, and a reordering of the nation around evangelical Christianity. 

<< snip >>

This is no longer your mother’s Republican Party, or your grandfather’s… or his grandfather’s.

Today’s Republican Party is not about equal rights and opportunity, as Lincoln’s party was. It is not about using the government to protect ordinary people, as Theodore Roosevelt’s party was. It is not even about advancing the ability of businesses to do as they deem best, as Ronald Reagan’s party was.

The modern Republican Party is about using the power of the government to enforce the beliefs of a radical minority on the majority of Americans.

For those who support the current radical turn in what is now a party based on fealty to Donald Trump, they had better be ready for the time when Trump’s wrath turns on them. It always turns in a cult of personality.

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Bans Off Our Bodies Iowa Events


Bans Off West Des Moines

On Monday, May 2nd, Politico published a leaked draft Supreme Court majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that explicitly overturns Roe v. Wade. This is an unprecedented lea… more info/RSVP

Bans Off Our Bodies in Cedar Falls

On May 2nd, we learned from a leaked draft opinion that SCOTUS is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, stripping the constitutional right to abortion in spite of fifty years of precedent. The Supreme Cou… more info/RSVP

Bans Off Our Bodies in Dubuque

Join together of a national Day of action! We will be meeting up at the courthouse 1:45-2pm and Marching to Town Clock Plaza

2-2:25 pm The March route will start at the County Courthouse and … more info/RSVP

Bans Off Our Bodies Iowa City

On Monday, May 2nd, Politico published a leaked draft Supreme Court majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that explicitly overturns Roe v. Wade. This is an unprecedented lea… more info/RSVP

Bans Off Our Bodies Davenport

On Monday, May 2nd, Politico published a leaked draft Supreme Court majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that explicitly overturns Roe v. Wade. This is an unprecedented … more info/RSVP

Bans Off Our Bodies in Burlington

On May 2nd, we learned from a leaked draft opinion that SCOTUS is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, stripping the constitutional right to abortion in spite of fifty years of precedent. The Supreme Court… more info/RSVP

Bans Off Our Bodies in FAIRFIELD IOWA

On May 2nd, we learned from a leaked draft opinion that SCOTUS is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, stripping the constitutional right to abortion in spite of fifty years of precedent. The Supreme Court… more info/RSVP

These are the ones we know of as of Thursday night. Check the link to see if more have been added or to host your own event.

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Watch Iowa Democratic U.S. Senate Debate

Lots of good stuff here. All are quality candidates.

Strong statement by Abby Finkenauer –

“If you are a state legislator you do not belong in my doctor’s office or a doctor’s office of women across this country. I you’re a supreme court justice you do not belong in my doctor’s office. What’s happening here is horrifying and it’s happening because of the fact we have a current U.S. Senator who has been sitting there for nearly 5 decades and held up the nomination of Merrick Garland leading to this U.S. Supreme Court. It shouldn’t have happened.”

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Tell Republicans To Fix Iowa’s “Worst in the Nation” Child Sex Abuse Laws

Action alert from Iowa Senate Dems:  Child sex abuse victims lose the right to confront their abuser faster in Iowa than in any other state.

Sign the petition to fix Iowa’s failing child sex abuse laws. And then tell Iowa Republican state legislators to fix Iowa’s “worst in the nation” child sex abuse laws” BEFORE the 2022 session ends.

Sign the petition: https://actionnetwork.org/…/end-the-statute-of…

Find your legislator: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/find

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Check Out The Latest Bizarre Kim Reynolds Video

ICYMI.  Scroll down. That’s our governor.

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