Cory Booker gave the speech Democrats needed

It would be hard to overstate how dispirited, angry, exhausted, and hopeless many Democrats felt after watching the Brett Kavanaugh nomination play out. Not only have right-wing, partisan ideologues solidified their control of the U.S. Supreme Court, millions of sexual assault survivors feel like the Republican-controlled Senate punched them in the gut.

No one would have blamed Senator Cory Booker for missing the Iowa Democratic Party’s Fall Gala on October 6. He was stuck in Washington as Republicans scheduled a Saturday afternoon vote on Kavanaugh, without a full investigation of sexual assault allegations or any acknowledgement that the nominee lied under oath repeatedly during his Senate Judiciary Committee testimony.

Booker cast his vote against Kavanaugh, rushed to the airport and made it to Des Moines in time to give the keynote speech to more than 1,000 activists. Outside the hall afterwards, I heard one sentiment over and over again: Booker’s uplifting message was just what people needed to hear on a discouraging day.

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Big test coming up for Joni Ernst (updated)

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst has cultivated an image as a politician who is deeply concerned about sexual assault. Her official website has a whole page dedicated to the issue.

But as Senate Republicans appear ready to ram through Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation for the U.S. Supreme Court, Ernst has not demanded any thorough investigation of the allegations against Kavanaugh. On the contrary: she is ready to reward his aggressive, evasive performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee with a lifetime seat on the high court.

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This is why I didn’t report my assault

Alexandra Rucinski is a patient advocate for Planned Parenthood and an activist for sex education and reproductive rights. -promoted by desmoinesdem

I was talking to my now fiance; we’d been together for a bit at this point, and we were talking about sex. Out of the blue, I asked him if he was beginning to have sex with someone, and then they changed their mind and asked him to stop, would he stop?

He very quickly responded that yes, he would immediately stop and that if he didn’t stop, that was rape.

That was the moment it clicked inside my head that what happened to me that summer day wasn’t ok. I couldn’t bring myself to call it rape yet, but that was the first time someone told me that not stopping was wrong, that not stopping was a violation. No one had ever said anything like that to me before.

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The inherent culpability of maleness

Johnson County Supervisor Kurt Friese wrote this commentary before The New Yorker published new sexual misconduct allegations about Brett Kavanaugh on September 23. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Let’s get this out there at the outset: I am a person of tremendous privilege. I may not be at the very top of the privilege ladder, but as a college-educated, straight, white cis male who attended both public and private schools during my upper middle class suburban upbringing, as a successful business person, and now as an elected official, yeah, I’m up there.

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Interview: What drives Senator Jeff Merkley

“We need to use every tool we have to reclaim our country,” U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley told me during his latest visit to Des Moines. “We are at the verge of a tipping point, and maybe we’re almost past it, in which the power of the mega-wealthy is so profound that we can’t tip the balance back in to we the people.”

The senator from Oregon spent much of Labor Day weekend in central Iowa supporting Democratic candidates for the state legislature. His fifth trip here since the 2016 election won’t be his last: he will be a featured speaker at the Polk County Steak Fry later this month. During our September 2 interview, I asked Merkley about the most important matters pending in the U.S. Senate, prospects for Democrats in November, and his possible presidential candidacy.

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