Lessons of 2020: Iowa Catholics stuck with Trump

Third in a series interpreting the results of Iowa’s 2020 state and federal elections.

White non-Hispanic Catholics supported Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton by a wide margin in 2016, according to the Pew Research Center’s analysis of exit polls and subsequent survey of validated voters.

Preliminary exit poll data suggests that Joe Biden improved his standing with those voters, losing white Catholics by 57 percent to 42 percent, compared to Clinton’s 64 percent to 31 percent deficit. That’s consistent with some polls taken during the campaign, which showed Biden gaining support among white Catholics–not surprising, since the Democratic nominee frequently referred to his Catholic faith and upbringing in public appearances.

I expected Biden to improve substantially on Clinton’s performance in Iowa’s most heavily Catholic counties, where “Kennedy Democrats” were once a solid voting bloc. But that didn’t happen.

On the contrary, Trump increased his raw vote totals and share of the vote in those counties, as he did in many parts of the state.

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There will be no presidential libraries for Obama, Trump

Herb Strentz examines the impact of digitization on institutions valued by historians and archivists. -promoted by Laura Belin

Whatever the outcome of our presidential election, there will not be a traditional Donald Trump Library to inspire jokes about his presidency or to morph millions of scattershot tweets into scholarly insights.

Nor, for that matter, will there be a Barack Obama Library, once lawsuits over a proposed Obama Presidential Center in Chicago’s Jackson Park are settled. Scheduled for groundbreaking in 2018, the proposed $500 million community center is mired in litigation over its location and other issues.

Regardless, we likely have seen the last of public presidential libraries under the aegis of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) as fixed places where citizens, visitors and scholars can read through millions of books and billions of pages to better understand the challenges and promises of democracy. That is what President Franklin D. Roosevelt dreamed when he set the library idea in motion in 1939.

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Don't count on a "blue wave" to deliver

Keith Nichols: The Democrats’ greatest failure during Barack Obama’s presidency was not to reinstate the Federal Communications Commission’s fairness doctrine, which would have broken the back of right-wing hate radio. -promoted by Laura Belin

We don’t need to look very far back in U.S. history to see what would happen if Joe Biden wins the presidential election and Democrats somehow gain control of the Senate. 

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Super Tuesday: A reversal of fortune

Dan Guild reflects on the weekend’s two game-changing events, which have no precedent in Democratic presidential campaigns. -promoted by Laura Belin

“Events dear boy, events” – attributed to to British Prime Minister Harold McMillan, though whether he said it is disputed.

I have spent a good amount of time studying primary polling.  The single most important lesson I have learned is that they are subject to sudden change. It is why I love the McMillan quote – it captures how unpredictable events can rapidly change the political calculus. 

This weekend we saw two race-changing events in 24 hours: Joe Biden’s decisive win in South Carolina and the sudden departure of Pete Buttigieg, the winner of the Iowa caucuses (depending on how you measure the results). These two events in combination are impossible to model. The Iowa winner has never withdrawn this early.  A front-runner has never performed so badly as Biden has before South Carolina and then recovered.

Having said that, I think history offers two parallels:

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Why Bernie, Iowans? Banks!

Skip Kaltenheuser is a writer based in Washington, DC. This piece is cross-posted from DownWithTyranny. -promoted by Laura Belin

Banks, including on Wall Street, fear no one like they fear Bernie Sanders.

I’m sure they’re not keen on Elizabeth Warren, but Bernie strikes a unique terror, because banks know anyone taking them on will have to wield the bully pulpit against them like FDR did. Bernie can do that. And heading up a ticket, no one else will do as well in critical precincts in the upper midwest, Pennsylvania and elsewhere that went for Obama twice, then flipped for Trump when people chose him as the middle finger to Washington, and to Democrats like Obama’s Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, who famously stated that housing policies were “foaming the runway for the banks.”

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