Iowa Democrats dismiss Julián Castro's critique at our peril

“If you didn’t know anything about this process, and I told you how it was set up, you would think that a right-wing Republican set this process up, because it really makes it harder to vote than it should be,” Julián Castro told a room full of Iowa Democrats at Drake University on December 10.

Castro’s campaign organized the town hall (which I moderated) to highlight problems with the Iowa caucus system and a calendar that starts with two overwhelmingly white states.

Now that Castro has ended his presidential bid, it may be tempting to dismiss his critique as sour grapes from a candidate who wasn’t gaining traction in Iowa.

That would be a mistake. Castro is only the most high-profile messenger for a sentiment that is widespread and growing in Democratic circles nationally.

If Iowa Democrats want to keep our prized position for the next presidential cycle and beyond, we need to acknowledge legitimate concerns about the caucuses and take bigger steps to make the process more accessible.

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Yes, the Iowa caucuses really matter

Dan Guild examines what presidential contests since 1980 tell us about the impact of the Iowa caucus results on the New Hampshire primary. -promoted by Laura Belin

Candidates are spending millions of dollars in Iowa right now. But do the Iowa caucuses matter? The state doesn’t have many Democratic National Committee delegates and is not that representative of the larger Democratic electorate.

My prediction: if the Iowa caucus results are in line with what current polling suggests, Iowa will matter a lot.

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Apology is Beto O'Rourke's path out of climate contradiction

Ed Fallon continues to examine where the Democratic presidential candidates stand on climate change. -promoted by Laura Belin

Six Bold Iowa Climate Bird Dogs arrived at Beto O’Rourke’s CNN town hall in Des Moines last week with great expectations. O’Rourke had just released a climate plan that generated much excitement. He talked about climate during his recent Iowa tour, and the plan is featured prominently on his website.

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Iowa Senate Republicans on tv to defend Jack Whitver, Julian Garrett

Five weeks before the general election, the Republican Party of Iowa has begun airing television commercials to promote Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver and State Senator Julian Garrett.

The advertising suggests that Republican internal polling shows Democrats Amber Gustafson and Vicky Brenner within striking distance in Senate districts 19 and 13, respectively. Democratic internal polling presumably shows competitive races too, since former President Barack Obama included Gustafson and Brenner on his list of Iowa endorsements this week. Only five state legislative candidates made the cut.

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Please, for the sake of the nation (and my heart, body and soul)

Laura Hubka chairs the Howard County Democrats, is vice chair of the Iowa Democratic Party’s Disability Caucus, and is the first district liaison to the party for the Veterans Caucus. -promoted by desmoinesdem

I decided to go to Obama.org just to check it out after looking at one of President Barack Obama’s posts on Twitter (my heart jumped and sank at writing that last statement). It was full of videos from the campaign in 2008. Almost all of it from Iowa. Young people, music, chanting and all the excitement of what could be. The hope, the change, the light in the peoples faces. I had to fight back the tears.

I feel like something inside me has faded. A light inside me is dim. I am afraid that the winds of change from 2016 have blown out my candle. I keep trying to light it but it is like lighting a wet wick. I can’t seem to find a hot enough fire. My heart literally aches.

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