Donald Trump unlocked revolving door for Terry Branstad

Former U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad and his former chief of staff in Beijing, Steve Churchill, recently formed a consulting group to provide “strategic insight and solutions to corporate leaders and investors conducting business in China and the United States.”

Countless former diplomats who served presidents of both parties have traveled the same path after leaving government service. Thanks to former President Donald Trump, Branstad was able to start cashing in a year early.

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Iowa House district 37: Mike Bousselot banks on false ads

The short special election campaign in Iowa House district 37 has been a costly affair, as expected. Disclosures filed last week show the Iowa Democratic Party has spent $306,470.21 on behalf of Andrea Phillips, while the Republican Party of Iowa has spent $234,327.12 supporting Mike Bousselot.

As is typical for targeted Iowa legislative races, the bulk of the spending has gone toward television and digital advertising: roughly $285,000 on the Democratic side and just under $230,000 from Republicans.

Bleeding Heartland analyzed the introductory ads for Phillips and Bousselot here. During the last two weeks of the campaign, I’ve seen more negative advertising about both candidates on Des Moines-based broadcast and cable television. The difference is that the Democratic ads highlight truthful claims about Bousselot’s past work, whereas the Republican ads are wholly false–much like the spots they ran against Phillips in 2020.

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Four questions Iowa reporters should ask Terry Branstad

Former Governor Terry Branstad is back in Iowa, having resigned as U.S. ambassador to China in order to campaign for President Donald Trump, Senator Joni Ernst, and other Republicans on the ballot. He’s defending Trump’s trade policy toward China, despite the impact on Iowa farmers. Speaking with reporters on October 10, Branstad “discounted polls showing President Trump and Joe Biden tied in Iowa.”

It’s a waste of time to ask any politician about polls, and Branstad has already spoken to the media at length about U.S. foreign policy toward China. Here are four more salient matters Iowa reporters could raise with the former governor.

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Trump's trade war: Be careful what you wish for

Jon Muller: The Trump administration’s two stated goals “are incompatible to the point of being mutually exclusive in a peaceful world.” -promoted by Laura Belin

There is a consensus in the U.S. that China is a bad actor. It is not so much my goal to destroy that consensus, though most of its underpinnings are based in fantasy, nationalism, and the convenient politics of fear.

Rather, this essay is a critique of current U.S. policy, and the absurdity of the disconnect between what we say we want versus what we’re asking for.

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Report from Senator Joni Ernst's town hall in Shenandoah

First-person accounts of political events are always fun to read. Thanks to Susie Olesen, a semi-retired former teacher and school administrator in southwest Iowa, for this write-up. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Senator Joni Ernst’s July 6 town hall at the high school auditorium in Shenandoah (Page County) was a well-attended, civil meeting. People who wanted to participate filled out a slip of paper, which were drawn out of a glass jar to determine who would be able to ask questions. Ernst sat at a table in front of the room.

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