What candidates said about health care, reproductive rights at the Hall of Fame

Nineteen presidential candidates had five minutes each to make their case to more than 1,000 activists at the Iowa Democratic Party’s Hall of Fame event in Cedar Rapids on June 9. Most offered at least one really good applause line. Teams of reporters from the Des Moines Register and Iowa Starting Line pulled together some of the memorable parts of each speech here and here.

I decided to focus on how the candidates spoke about health care and women’s ability to access abortion for a couple of reasons. First, while the candidates highlighted a wide range of problems and proposals, almost all of them addressed those topics in some way.

Second, this post represents my gesture toward what media critic Jay Rosen has called the “citizens agenda” approach to covering campaigns. Although I lack survey data to know for sure what Iowa Democrats want the presidential contenders to be talking about, I believe health care and reproductive rights are among the most salient for caucus-goers, because:

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Why I'm running to be the best senator money can't buy

Kimberly Graham is the first declared Democratic challenger to U.S. Senator Joni Ernst. Her campaign website is kimberlyforiowa.com, and she’s on Facebook and Twitter @KimberlyforIowa. -promoted by Laura Belin

Our current junior senator ran on a promise to get rid of corruption in Washington and “make ‘em squeal,” but the only people squealing are Iowans harmed by her votes.



My name is Kimberly Graham. I’m running for the United States Senate. Here’s who I am, who I’m running for, and why:



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Learning from baseball

Bruce Lear: “Swinging for the bleacher seats every time will often leave a player sitting in the dugout with a sore back. The same is true for candidates.” -promoted by Laura Belin

I love baseball. It’s a game of chess with four bases on a field instead of knights and rooks on a board. The object is to defend against runs and advance your runners around the bases. An easy game? No!

It has no clock, so the game isn’t lost until the final out at the plate or in the field. It’s slow. It’s methodical. It’s a game of statistics. The season is 162 games, so there are times of utter despair and utter joy.

James Earl Jones sums it up best in the now 30-year-old Iowa epic Field of Dreams:

“The one constant throughout the years, Ray has been baseball. America has rolled like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.”

For me, baseball is a lot like politics. Winning is based on a strategy about finding that sweet spot in a very long season. It’s slow. It’s methodical. It’s based on statistics we call polls.

This year’s crop of Democratic candidates could perhaps learn from baseball hitters through the ages. Remember, Babe Ruth led the league in home runs but also in strike outs. In politics when there is a binary choice between candidates, too many times waving or watching a fast ball or curve might get you a gig on CNN or Fox instead of the Presidency.

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Whom does Joni Ernst really represent?

Cindy Garlock is an Indivisible activist in Cedar Rapids. -promoted by Laura Belin

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst has earned a noteworthy distinction, Iowa media recently reported. One would hope it might be something that improved the lives of ordinary Iowans. But no. She is touting what her campaign is claiming as the largest first-quarter fundraising in an off-year election in the history of Iowa politics.

The $2.8 million cash on hand that she has amassed brought a few questions to my mind. In looking for answers, I found some things Iowans may be interested in knowing about our senator and where much of her campaign funding has come from.

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