Republican campaign events put Chuck Grassley, others at risk

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley tested positive for COVID-19 on November 17, he announced on Twitter.

U.S. Representative-elect Ashley Hinson tested positive last week.

Grassley’s spokesperson declined to say where the senator was exposed the virus. Hinson told reporters she had “no idea” how she got COVID-19 and didn’t care to speculate.

Bleeding Heartland wishes Grassley, Hinson, and every person affected by coronavirus a speedy recovery.

As Iowa hospitals near the breaking point, now would be a good time for Republican politicians to apologize for holding numerous in-person campaign events in October, when our state’s case numbers and hospitalizations were exploding, and virus-related deaths were accelerating.

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Needed: A ceasefire

Ira Lacher calls for Republicans and Democrats to declare a ceasefire in four areas that escalate tensions on both sides. -promoted by Laura Belin

“Since Election Day and for weeks prior, Trump has all but ceased to actively manage the deadly pandemic, which so far has killed at least 244,000 Americans, infected at least 10.9 million and choked the country’s economy,” reported for the the Washington Post reported on November 14.

In doing so, Trump has disregarded every imperative set forth in the Preamble to the Constitution. His latest impeachable offense is one of many throughout his term. But what did Congressional Democrats impeach him for? A quid pro quo with Ukraine that no one understood.

It’s just one example of how the Dumpstercratic Party has lumbered from one blunder to another: from failing to take advantage of its majority status in the Senate under President Barack Obama (“Maa … Mitch McConnell hit me!”), to spending a two-year primary season quibbling over what it stands for, to feebly sponsoring weak candidates in the general election. The party needs a massive reboot. But not the one you’re thinking of.

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Lessons of 2020: Win or lose, Rita Hart was a good fit for IA-02

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

Democrat Rita Hart’s campaign has asked for a recount in all 24 counties of Iowa’s second Congressional district, where Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks led by 196,862 votes to 196,815 (49.92% to 49.90%) after the canvass. It’s the closest U.S. House race in the country, and one of the closest in Iowa history.

The lead has changed twice since election night: first, when fixing a tabulation error in Jasper County put Hart slightly ahead, and then when a correction in Lucas County moved Miller-Meeks back into the lead.

Recounts in Iowa rarely produce big changes in vote totals, so Republicans are confident they will pick up this seat. However, overcoming a deficit of 47 votes out of nearly 400,000 cast is certainly possible in a recount.

Either way, one fact is clear: Hart performed much better than a generic Democrat, perhaps better than any nominee not named Dave Loebsack could have in these circumstances.

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Chasing Benford's Law down an election rabbit hole

Richard Lindgren first posted this essay at Godplaysdice.com. Radiolab has now uploaded a good podcast with similar conclusions. -promoted by Laura Belin

Benford’s Law is a fun statistical phenomenon that my own blog has explored a couple of times, most notably here, because of its usefulness in financial auditing. Benford has gained a sudden new popularity among 2020 election conspiracy sites, alleging huge vote rigging, but only in states where Donald Trump lost. However, this technique is invariably misused and misunderstood in these applications, and so, this is my attempt at some clarity.

We will start out with a good application of Benford’s Law, but if you want to skip right to the bad election vote-counting use, just drop down to the second header.

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Iowa's unstrung quartet — Chuck, Joni, Kim, and Terry

Herb Strentz envisions a musical inspired by top Iowa Republicans’ “unquestioning obedience” to President Donald Trump. -promoted by Laura Belin

We’ve had Broadway musicals inspired by American history, such as 1776 and Hamilton.

Now how about an Iowa take on the nation’s future with a political song and dance called Iowa’s Un-Strung Quartet? The musical would deal with U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst and Governors Terry Branstad and Kim Reynolds in their attempts to harmonize with the persistently off-key Donald Trump.

The dark humor driving the discord would be the fact that Trump does not demand loyalty from his aides and his supporters.

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Refuting Superman

Ira Lacher spoke with two young women who were severely affected by COVID-19 despite their low-risk profiles. -promoted by Laura Belin

When President Donald Trump walked out of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after being treated last month for COVID-19, he trashed every poll that predicted a Democratic presidential election rout.

Joe Biden won the electoral college and the popular vote, but Trump still collected 8 million more votes overall than he did in 2016, and won some states by larger margins than his first run at the presidency.

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