Four Senate immigration bills fail: How Grassley and Ernst voted

With less that three weeks remaining until the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program expires, the U.S. Senate voted today on four immigration proposals. Three of them contained language to protect “DREAMers,” who were brought to this country without authorization as children. No proposal received the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster. The only bill to fall short of 50 votes was Senator Chuck Grassley’s legislation, modeled on President Donald Trump’s demands.

Iowa’s senators have talked a good game about the DREAMers, but today Grassley and Joni Ernst rejected bipartisan plans in order to be rubber stamps for the president and immigration hard-liners.

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Hear John Delaney's early pitch to Iowa Democrats

Two years before the 2020 Iowa caucuses, U.S. Representative John Delaney of Maryland is already investing heavily in reaching voters here. Delaney visited Iowa for the first time within weeks of announcing his presidential candidacy last July. This past weekend, he made his sixth swing through the state, attending events in Cedar, Dubuque, Clinton, Clayton, Delaware, Jackson, and Scott counties.

Most Iowans will be introduced to Delaney through his television commercials. His debut ad aired during the Super Bowl in the Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, and Sioux City markets. The second spot began running on February 5 as “part of a million-dollar, month-long Iowa television buy,” according to a campaign news release. I enclose below videos and transcripts of both commercials.

Hundreds of Democratic activists have already heard Delaney at a meet and greet or local party event where he was a featured speaker. I recorded his speech at the Third Congressional District Hall of Fame dinner last October. The second part of this post contains the sound file and a transcript of key passages.

Finally, I asked Delaney to react to some activists’ concern that a sharper focus on issues white working-class voters care about could make Democratic candidates less committed to other stances, which are critically important to segments of the party’s base.

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Can anything make Trump popular?

Guest author Dan Guild has closely followed American presidential polling and elections for decades. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Consider three quotes: “It’s the economy, stupid”–James Carville, 1992

“Events dear boy, events”–Attributed to British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan

“That the prince must consider, as has been in part said before, how to avoid those things which will make him hated or contemptibleIt makes him hated above all things, as I have said, to be rapacious, and to be a violator of the property and women of his subjects, from both of which he must abstain.”–Machiavelli, The Prince, 1513

I cannot prove Machiavelli had Donald Trump in mind when he wrote those words 500 years ago. But the polling is consistent (we will explore it in a later post) – after his first year Trump is one of the most hated politicians in American history.

This was true on election day in 2016, when only 38 percent had a favorable impression of him, the lowest rating any major presidential candidate has received since exit polling began. He did not get the typical boost most presidents get after being elected. His numbers have not improved despite what by some indications is a good economy. In fact, about 75 percent of polls taken since May 2017 find his approval rating within 3 points of his favorable rating in the election day exit.

So the question must be asked: can anything change the public’s impression of Donald Trump?

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The story has changed, but not the economy

Jon Muller fact-checks some assertions from the State of the Union. -promoted by desmoinesdem

The president bragged about the economy last night, suggesting the dawn of a new era of growth after decades of stagnation. It isn’t true. Well, it’s partly true. The economy is doing fairly well by most measures. But have we seen any appreciable change in trend?

This post will address four claims made by the president, related to manufacturing, wage growth, black unemployment, and coal production.

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A Des Moines principal's heartfelt message to immigrant students

“Tonight I feel compelled to discuss something that’s been weighing on my mind heavily,” said Des Moines Roosevelt High School principal Kevin Biggs in a recorded message to students, parents, and guardians on January 12.

Without referring to President Donald Trump or his widely reported comments denigrating immigrants from “shithole countries” and Haitians specifically, Biggs went on to emphasize his pride in the diversity of the Roosevelt student body and the staff’s support for refugees, immigrants, and students of color. “To our Haitian students,” he added, “you are a valuable part of our community, and you’ve elevated the strength of our building simply with your presence.” The principal also promised “those of you who have traveled across oceans to experience the American dream, we’re here for you, too.”

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Weekend open thread: Accountability

Senator Chuck Grassley hit a new low last week in running interference for the White House on the Trump/Russia investigation. After leaders of the private research firm Fusion GPS called on Congressional Republicans “to release full transcripts of our firm’s testimony” about the so-called Steele dossier, Grassley and Senator Lindsey Graham wrote to the Department of Justice and the FBI “urging an investigation into Christopher Steele.” Ranking Senate Judiciary Committee Democrat Dianne Feinstein was not consulted about the referral, which she accurately characterized as “another effort to deflect attention from what should be the committee’s top priority: determining whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the election and whether there was subsequent obstruction of justice.”

Here in Iowa, the Department of Human Services recently acknowledged that privatizing Medicaid “will save the state 80 percent less money this fiscal year than originally predicted,” Tony Leys reported for the Des Moines Register. The Branstad/Reynolds administration has claimed since 2015 that shifting care for one-sixth of Iowans to private companies would result in big savings for the state. Officials were never able to show the math underlying those estimates. Staff for Governor Kim Reynolds and the DHS now portray the miscalculation as an honest mistake, which a more “comprehensive methodology” will correct. The governor would have been wiser to pull the plug on this disaster last year.

Forthcoming Bleeding Heartland posts will address those failures in more depth. But now it’s time to hold myself accountable for the 17 Iowa politics predictions I made at the beginning of 2017. Did I improve on my showing of seven right, two half-right, and seven wrong out of my 16 predictions for 2016?

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