Adrian Dickey's win highlights Iowa Democrats' trouble in mid-sized counties

Republican Adrian Dickey will represent Iowa Senate district 41 for the next two years, with unofficial results showing him winning the January 26 special election by 5,040 votes to 4,074 for Democrat Mary Stewart (55.3 percent to 44.7 percent). The victory gives the GOP a 32 to 18 majority in the Iowa Senate.

Stewart led the early vote in her home county of Wapello (Ottumwa area) and in Jefferson County, which contains Democratic-leaning Fairfield as well as Dickey’s home town of Packwood. But even a massive snowstorm on the eve of the election couldn’t stop Dickey from overtaking her in Wapello.

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The story and stamp of the 442nd — Overdue, but so timely

Herb Strentz recalls the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, comprised of second-generation Nisei (Japanese-Americans) who fought for the U.S. during World War II. -promoted by Laura Belin

Not often is something timely when it is 70 to 75 years overdue.

But that is the case with an upcoming 2021 commemorative stamp, a tribute to World War II patriotism.

The nation finally is giving such recognition to some 33,000 Japanese-Americans who served in U.S. armed forces in World War II. At the heart of this recognition are the combined 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team, comprised of second-generation Nisei, American citizens by birth. The 442nd became the most decorated American military unit ever for its size and length of service.

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Václav Havel’s “Letters to Olga” as a COVID-19 companion

For today’s anniversary of Václav Havel’s death, Kieran Williams makes the case for why Havel’s prison letters are timely reading in our pandemic. -promoted by Laura Belin

the course of this year I have read a lot about COVID-19, its effects on the human body, and what we might do to treat or halt it. I don’t yet feel ready to read about its other effects, on the psyches of billions of people who have had to adjust their daily lives. The fact is that until it is over, I won’t even understand how it has affected me, let alone everyone else.

That’s why I’ve wanted to turn instead to a record of another person’s experience of existential shock, one that happened far enough in the past that we can treat it as a completed event: Václav Havel’s letters as a political prisoner 40 years ago in communist Czechoslovakia, published as Letters to Olga.

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Populisms Left and Right

John Whiston contrasts two strains of American populism and ponders how a populist agenda could unite diverse Democratic constituencies.-promoted by Laura Belin

You hear a lot of anxiety these days about the rising tide of “right-wing populism.” How in God’s name did Donald Trump increase his share of the vote in localities like Lee and Clinton counties in Iowa and Kenosha and Dunn ounties in Wisconsin?  So, maybe it’s time to take a step back and think about what “populism” really means – today, historically,  and for the American future.

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A race that ends where it began

Dan Guild: Donald Trump’s presidency is defined by the stability of its unpopularity, and elections with incumbents are defined by perceptions of their job approval. -promoted by Laura Belin

I wrote at Crystal Ball in April that elections with incumbents are defined by perceptions of their job approval. In a post for this site in July, I suggested that Trump’s approval, and the sense across the country that things were out of control, reminded me of the difficulties that Jimmy Carter faced in his re-election.

On the eve of the election I find myself thinking about the parallel to 1980 again.

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