Review of progressive local election victories around Iowa

Democrats around the country had a lot to celebrate last night, including a “tidal wave” in Virginia, total control of state government in New Jersey, a vote to expand Medicaid in Maine, and a special election that gave the party a majority in the Washington State Senate. Voting rights may be expanded soon in several states, Ari Berman wrote today at Mother Jones.

Many progressive Democrats scored victories in Iowa’s non-partisan local elections as well.

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Are women better candidates than men? (And other curiosities from the 2016 Iowa House elections)

After taking a closer look at the 2016 Iowa House election results, Kent R. Kroeger believes Iowa Democrats have reasons to worry but also reasons to be optimistic about their chances of taking back the chamber. You can contact the author at kentkroeger3@gmail.com.

The dataset used for the following analysis of 2016 Iowa House races with Democratic challengers or candidates for open seats can be found here: DATASET

When former U.S. Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine asked in her July 2016 Huffington Post essay, “Is 2016 the year of the woman?”, she can be forgiven if her underlying assumption was that the U.S. would be electing its first female president four months later.

We know how that turned out. Yet, her question had a broader vision and was not dependent on the outcome of one presidential race in one country. The question springs from an emerging body of evidence that women may make for better politicians than men. Given that only 19 percent of U.S. congressional seats are currently held by women, it may seem ridiculous to ask such a question. And since 2000, the percentage of women in state legislatures has plateaued (see graph below). Nonetheless, looking across a longer time span, there is no question more and more women are running and winning elective office in this country.

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44 photos from the Iowa Women's March

Turnout for the Women’s March in Washington and companion events around the world shattered expectations on Saturday, far exceeding the number of people who showed up to watch Donald Trump be sworn in as president the previous day. Trump and White House press secretary Sean Spicer had a right royal meltdown over media coverage of attendance at the inauguration. The president must have been seething to see yesterday’s news about more than 2.5 million people marching, including at least half a million in Washington and massive numbers in city after city: 750,000 in Los Angeles, 250,000 in Chicago, 100,000 in Denver, and so on.

Before the weekend, I heard predictions that 10,000 people might come to the Iowa Women’s March outside the Capitol in Des Moines. Instead, an estimated 26,000 people were there–impressive turnout for a state with about 3 million residents.

I spent most of Saturday at the Iowa Democratic Party State Central Committee meeting, so I’m grateful to Bleeding Heartland readers who gave me permission to share their Iowa Women’s March photos below (click on any image to enlarge). The only problem was choosing what to post among scores of inspiring images from the rally.

This is an open thread: all topics welcome. The Iowa City Press-Citizen published a photo gallery from the women’s march in the “people’s republic.”

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A year's worth of guest posts, plus tips for guest authors

One of my blogging new year’s resolutions for 2016 was to publish more work by other authors, and I’m grateful to the many talented writers who helped me meet that goal. After the jump I’ve linked to all 140 guest posts published here last year.

I encourage readers to consider writing for this site in 2017. Guest authors can write about any political issue of local, state, or national importance. As you can see from the stories enclosed below, a wide range of topics and perspectives are welcome here.

Pieces can be short or long, funny or sad. You can write in a detached voice or let your emotions show.

Posts can analyze what happened or advocate for what should happen, either in terms of public policy or a political strategy for Democrats. Authors can share first-person accounts of campaign events or more personal reflections about public figures.

Guest authors do not need to e-mail a draft to me or ask permission to pursue a story idea. Just register for an account (using the “sign up” link near the upper right), log in, write a post, edit as needed, and hit “submit for review” when you are ready to publish. The piece will be “pending” until I approve it for publication, to prevent spammers from using the site to sell their wares. You can write under your own name or choose any pseudonym not already claimed by another Bleeding Heartland user. I do not reveal authors’ identity without their permission.

I also want to thank everyone who comments on posts here. If you’ve never participated that way, feel free to register for a user account and share your views. If you used to comment occasionally but have not done so lately, you may need to reset your password. Let me know if you have any problems registering for an account, logging in, or changing a password. My address is near the lower right-hand corner of this page.

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The 16 highest-traffic Bleeding Heartland posts in 2016

Traffic can be a touchy subject for bloggers. Most writers know the pain of pouring a lot of effort into a project that gets little traction. On the flip side, although clicks are always welcome, seeing a post take off is not as satisfying when you are less invested in the piece. The most-viewed post in nearly 10 years of Bleeding Heartland’s existence was nothing special, just another opinion poll write-up. FYI: A good way to get the Drudge Report to link to your site is to type up a long list of negative statements about Hillary Clinton.

I’ve never compiled a year-end list like this before, but since people occasionally ask what material is most popular at the blog, I figured, why not start a new tradition? Ulterior motive: I hope more readers will be inspired to write for Bleeding Heartland in 2017 after learning that guest authors wrote some of this year’s most-viewed posts, including the one at the very top.

Follow me after the jump for the sixteen posts that generated the most traffic in 2016. Some of the results surprised me.

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Seven Questions for Iowa Democratic Party Chair Candidates

Seven concise questions for the seven people hoping to lead Iowa Democrats forward. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Thanks for all your comments on my recent post about what we should be looking for in the new IDP Chair. As a continuation of my effort to help vet the candidates, I’m writing this post and asking all the candidates for Chair to submit their answers to questions that will help us determine who the right person is for the job. I’m a neutral observer and have no vote since I’m not on the State Central Committee, but I’m keenly interested in picking a person who has the capacity and skills to lead us forward.

I plan to create a new post here on Bleeding Heartland on Sunday, December 11 with all the responses I receive as of that date. SCC candidates, please send me your responses in a Word Document or an email. My email is: Claire.Celsi@gmail.com. Thanks ~ Claire Celsi

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