Why I'm caucusing for Beto O'Rourke

Nate Willems: “Instead of looking for a candidate who appealed to my own sense of identity, I searched for the Democrat who is simply the best leader for Iowa.” -promoted by Laura Belin

I represent unions, injured workers, and workers with employment law claims. The work will drive you nuts and make you madder than mad, but the victories are incredibly rewarding. So, it did not surprise any of my friends when I would tell them I was excited by leaders like Sherrod Brown talking about the dignity of work. Senator Brown has a first-rate record of putting working families first, and he’s going to continue doing that in the U.S. Senate.

As we got into the spring and presidential candidates began popping up everywhere, I began to take stock of our wide, diverse field. I am a Tom Harkin/Paul Wellstone kind of Democrat, and I knew I was looking for a Democrat whose body of work as an elected official lined up with what I do as a lawyer. That proved to be harder than I thought. Ultimately, I decided I would support whichever candidate excited me and made it a priority to listen to working people.

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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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Interview: Pete Buttigieg on judicial appointments, reforming federal courts

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has made headlines for endorsing a plan to expand and restructure the U.S. Supreme Court, an issue he has discussed more often than other candidates running for president. The topic may strike a chord with many activists; a national poll commissioned in April by Demand Justice found that most Democrats likely to participate in the 2020 primaries disapprove of the job the Supreme Court is doing.

Bleeding Heartland asked Buttigieg more broadly about potential changes to the federal judiciary in a 15-minute telephone interview on June 7.

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Joe Biden will probably lose Iowa

Dan Guild examines what history tells us about how to interpret the latest Iowa Democratic caucus poll by Selzer & Co for the Des Moines Register, Mediacom, and CNN. -promoted by Laura Belin

It has been two months since the last good Iowa caucus poll. This is actually unusual: you have to go back to 1996 to find a similar gap. So the latest poll by Selzer & Co (what does the Des Moines Register have against Saturday nights?) was eagerly anticipated.

Joe Biden announced his candidacy to great fanfare on April 25. Within two weeks, national polling showed him picking up between 10 and 15 points. But there is no national primary. I wrote here in March that I Biden was a VERY weak front runner based on his Iowa polling to date.

Ed Kilgore speculated around the time of Biden’s announcement that he had a “shock and awe” strategy.

Did that strategy work? Has it moved votes in Iowa?

Tonight the Des Moines Register provided its verdict: No.

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Apology is Beto O'Rourke's path out of climate contradiction

Ed Fallon continues to examine where the Democratic presidential candidates stand on climate change. -promoted by Laura Belin

Six Bold Iowa Climate Bird Dogs arrived at Beto O’Rourke’s CNN town hall in Des Moines last week with great expectations. O’Rourke had just released a climate plan that generated much excitement. He talked about climate during his recent Iowa tour, and the plan is featured prominently on his website.

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