Junk the caucuses? Extend neck. Cut.

Ira Lacher makes the case that the Iowa caucuses are too important for Democrats to do without. -promoted by Laura Belin

Kill the Iowa caucuses? Really, Jason Noble and Kevin Cooney?

Yes, the 2020 edition of the quadrennial Iowa Winter State Fair was a worldwide embarrassment, at least on the Democratic side, due to poor results reporting, stacked atop tremulous party management, training, and supervision. (Don’t look so smug, Republicans; you’ve had your kaukus kerfuffles too.)

But the arguments published recently in the Des Moines Register by those otherwise well-regarded gentlemen, who have been close to the process, as journalists and then (for Noble) as a Democratic Party insider, are far less convincing than the Pepsi Challenge.

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Iowa caucuses again undergo scrutiny

Herb Strentz reviews some of the demographic and political issues that threaten Iowa’s future role in the presidential nominating process. -promoted by Laura Belin

No doubt about it. Iowans benefit from the every-four-years caucuses on our preferences for candidates for the Office of President of the United States. (If you visit the Oval Office replica at the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, President Harry S Truman will tell you the presidency is “the most important governmental office in the history of the world.”)

Iowa likely leads the nation on a per capita basis in terms of how many of us get a good look at those seeking that “most important office….”

But there have long been questions about whether the nation benefits from Iowa being a crucial step for those seeking to be president.

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Historic new leadership for Iowa Democrats

For the first time, a person of color will lead one of Iowa’s major political parties. The Iowa Democratic Party’s State Central Committee on January 23 chose Ross Wilburn to serve as state party chair for the coming election cycle. Wilburn won on the first ballot in a field of four candidates after Brett Copeland withdrew his candidacy during the committee’s meeting.

The two candidates with a strong base of support among the 50-plus State Central Committee members were Wilburn, who received just under 65 percent of the votes, and Jodi Clemens, who received 33 percent. Clemens is a former Iowa House candidate and former staffer on Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign as well as Kimberly Graham’s 2020 U.S. Senate campaign. At last year’s state convention, she was elected to represent Iowa on the Democratic National Committee. She will continue in that role.

Wilburn has represented Iowa House district 46, covering part of Ames, since September 2019 and will keep serving in the state legislature. However, in order to focus his full-time efforts on leading the Democratic Party, he will quit his other job as diversity officer and associate director for community economic development at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

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Best of Bleeding Heartland's original reporting in 2020

My primary goal in running this website is to provide Iowa political news and analysis that’s not available anywhere else. I’m proud of what Bleeding Heartland accomplished in 2020 and want to highlight some of the investigative reporting and accountability journalism published first or exclusively here.

A forthcoming post will review the site’s most popular pieces from 2020, which included many I worked hardest on or most enjoyed writing.

As always, I’m grateful for readers whose appetite for this kind of reporting keeps me going.

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Trump pardons GOP operatives who bought Kent Sorenson's endorsement

They weren’t the most heinous pardons President Donald Trump issued this week. Those went to former military contractors who slaughtered civilians in Iraq.

They weren’t the most corrupt pardons Trump issued this week. Those went to campaign associates who participated in Russian interference in the 2016 election and then covered for Trump during special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Nevertheless, two pardons announced on December 23 had an Iowa connection that may interest Bleeding Heartland readers.

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Caucus postmortem: Don't blame the DNC

Ira Lacher highlights key points from the internal review of the 2020 Iowa caucuses, conducted for the Iowa Democratic Party. -promoted by Laura Belin

Iowa political junkies have another reason to be thankful that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be sworn in on January 20.

Since a Democratic nomination fight for the 2024 elections appears unlikely, it means that, like a baseball pitcher undergoing Tommy John surgery to repair a horribly injured shoulder, the Iowa caucuses have more time to rehab from their 2020 kerfuffle, which earned worldwide derision.

When the party on December 12 released its postmortem on the 2020 debacle, news outlets were quick to blame the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for much of the trouble. “Iowa autopsy report: DNC meddling led to caucus debacle,” was the headline from Politico. “Iowa caucus mishap fueled by DNC interference, state missteps: autopsy report” chimed in The Hill. From CNN: “Review largely blames Iowa caucus problems on Democratic National Committee.” USA Today and The New York Times also treated the story similarly.

And they were all wrong. Because that’s not what the 29-page report says.

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