"We can do better": Deidre DeJear's case for secretary of state

Iowa Democrats are set to have their first competitive primary for secretary of state since 1998. Deidre DeJear launched her campaign last month on the 52nd anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, to symbolize her commitment to increasing voter participation.

DeJear spoke to Bleeding Heartland at length about her candidacy, and I’ve posted highlights from that interview after the jump, along with the audio and full transcript of her remarks to a Democratic audience in Grinnell. You can follow her campaign on the web, Facebook, and Twitter.

DeJear’s approach to the race is markedly different from that of Jim Mowrer, the other Democrat in the field. Mowrer came out swinging against Secretary of State Paul Pate, vowing “to say no to making it harder and more expensive to vote” and highlighting the failure to count nearly 6,000 votes in Dallas County last November. In contrast, DeJear says little about Pate in her campaign materials and stump speech. She didn’t bring up the Dallas County debacle in our interview either.

Pate is very unpopular among Democratic activists since pushing for new restrictions on voting that will create barriers for certain populations. Nor is the secretary of state well-liked by county auditors, some of whom have already endorsed Mowrer. I suspect many 2018 primary voters will be drawn to a candidate willing to take the fight to Pate, relentlessly.

On the other hand, DeJear’s more aspirational, positive message should resonate with Democrats who prefer candidates to talk about what they are for, not what they’re against. I look forward to following this race.

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The new Afghanistan strategy sounds a lot like the old Afghanistan strategy

President Donald Trump changed the subject last night. Instead of another day of news on the fallout from his horrific response to a white supremacist rally, the commander in chief announced a new strategy for the U.S. in Afghanistan in a prime-time televised address. It wasn’t a typical Trump speech: he read carefully from a teleprompter.

Foreign policy isn’t my strong suit, so I’ve spent much of today reading analysis by those who have closely followed our military and diplomatic strategy during our country’s longest war. The consensus: Trump’s strategy for Afghanistan is neither new nor likely to produce the victory the president promised.

To my knowledge, the only Iowan in Congress to release a public statement on last night’s speech was Senator Joni Ernst. I enclose her generally favorable comments near the end of this post, along with a critical statement from Thomas Heckroth, one of the Democrats running in Iowa’s first district. James Hohmann compiled some other Congressional reaction for the Washington Post.

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Trump won't call out neo-Nazis. Republicans must hold him accountable

What a discouraging weekend for the country. Hundreds of white supremacists marched in Charlottesville, Virginia on Friday night, carrying torches and chanting racist and anti-Semitic slogans. The next day, police mostly stood by while racists (some displaying swastika flags or calling out the Nazi slogan “blood and soil”) clashed with counter-protesters during “the largest public gathering of white supremacists in decades.” One of those anti-fascist protesters, Heather Heyer, was killed after a car struck her while driving into a crowd, allegedly intentionally. Virginia state troopers Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates died in a helicopter crash while assisting in the law enforcement response to the “Unite the Right” rally.

Many Republican officials, including Iowa’s top GOP leaders, condemned this weekend’s acts of domestic terrorism and racist hatred. But President Donald Trump–long an inspiration to white nationalists and neo-Nazis–deliberately avoided calling out the instigators in Charlottesville.

Politicians who enthusiastically campaigned for Trump and continue to support him must demand much more.

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Facts matter, but not if they fall on deaf ears

Matt Chapman’s advice to activists engaging with potential allies on the left: “If your conversation starts out by denigrating someone they worked hard for, you can’t expect them to listen.” -promoted by desmoinesdem

I have read quite a bit and have noted a few workshops on how to talk across the aisle. A lot of folks who canvass or have political conversations to influence voting habits focus on talking to others on the political left, since trying to convince hard-right voters seems like a waste of time.

The strategy for trying to break through to Republicans was to take the facts out of the conversation and focus on the morality of positions. The idea was that people who hold Christian values as their moral compass should be persuadable on issues such as poverty, bigotry, and a host of other issues.

I want to focus on how we communicate on the left from moderate Democrats to progressives and other allied parties, including the Green and Socialist parties as well as independents all across the spectrum.

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Can We Make A Difference?

Rev. Dr. Bill Ekhardt delivered this speech as a representative of Indivisible Iowa at the Our Lives on the Line rally at the State Capitol on Saturday, July 29.

Can We Make a Difference?

Thank you coalition leaders for the opportunity to come and speak today. It is a privilege to represent Indivisible Iowa. Today I come with the question:

Can we make a difference?

We are here today to stand up for health care for all Iowans and citizens across our country and for health care as a right. We are standing against the efforts of a Republican Party that for seven years has been promising to repeal the Affordable Care Act. When President Obama invited them to join them and build a bipartisan health care plan that the whole country could get behind did the Republican leaders accept? No, they refused! They stood against health care reform from the beginning. They cynically decided it was in their best interest to oppose any change rather than join in the process to make the reforms our country needed. Instead of offering up solutions, they conjured up images of death panels pulling the plug on grandma.

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