Time to bid goodbye to Terry Branstad, Chuck Grassley

Herb Strentz: After a combined nine decades in elected offices, Iowa’s longtime senator and former governor are increasingly a liability to democracy. -promoted by Laura Belin

U.S. Senator Charles Grassley and former Governor Terry Branstad have served in elected offices for a combined 94 years. It really is time for Iowans to bid goodbye to them. The two have more than paid their public-service dues, but sadly are increasingly a drain on public confidence and a liability to democracy. The evidence of the latter includes their unconscionable silence when it comes to holding former President Donald Trump accountable and their implicit support of him.

Both Grassley, 87, and Branstad, 74, were around when the Iowa legislature merited praise. Now they insist on sticking around when the Republican Party needs new people to lead it back to being concerned about the fate of our state and nation instead of soothing Trump’s ego, downplaying his temper tantrums and thousands of lies, and catering to a lunatic fringe to help assure re-election.

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Revised GOP election bill would exclude thousands more Iowa voters

On a party-line vote of 30 to 18, the Iowa Senate on February 23 approved Senate File 413, a new version of a bill that would restrict every aspect of the early voting process. The following day, the Iowa House approved the bill on a party-line 57 to 37 vote. Governor Kim Reynolds is expected to sign the bill; Republican Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley have each endorsed limits on early voting in recent days.

Although State Senator Roby Smith’s amendment addressed a few of the concerns raised by county auditors and advocates for vulnerable populations, the revised legislation would make it even harder for thousands of Iowans to have their absentee ballots counted. In a new twist, it shortens election-day voting hours as well.

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Seven Republicans showed the courage Iowa's senators lacked

Seven U.S. Senate Republicans joined all 50 members of the Democratic caucus in voting on February 13 to convict former President Trump on the sole count of incitement of insurrection. Although the number who voted guilty fell ten short of the 67 needed to disqualify Trump from holding any future office, it was the most bipartisan Senate vote on impeachment in U.S. history.

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What Ernst and Grassley are telling Iowans about impeachment

UPDATE: As expected, Iowa’s senators voted to acquit Trump. Their statements explaining that decision are posted here. Original post follows.

Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial began on February 9, with House Democrats arguing it is constitutional and necessary to convict the former president, and lawyers for Trump making a less coherent case that the trial is unconstitutional.

Even if you are not inclined to watch the full four hours of the proceedings, every American should watch the 13-minute, graphic video montage of the January 6 coup attempt, as well as Representative Jamie Raskin’s heartbreaking account of that day at the Capitol. These words from Raskin offered the most concise case for conviction: “This cannot be the future of America. We cannot have presidents inciting and mobilizing mob violence against our government and our institutions because they refuse to accept the will of the people.”

All 50 Democratic senators and six Republicans voted late in the day that Trump is “subject to a court of impeachment for acts committed while president.” The other 44 Republicans, including Iowa’s Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley, voted against the premise of this trial.

Neither Ernst nor Grassley released any statement explaining their vote, and they didn’t mention the impeachment proceedings on their social media feeds. However, form letters sent directly to Iowans in recent weeks shed light on how the senators will likely justify their votes to acquit, which are a foregone conclusion.

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