2021 in review and 2022 challenges

Steve Corbin is a freelance writer and emeritus professor of marketing at the University of Northern Iowa.

Reflecting on 2021’s highs and lows plus contemplating what’s ahead in 2022 is reality therapy; good for the soul.

During 2021 we witnessed the “Big Lie,” an attempted presidential coup, a Congressional power shift, a booming economy, a botched Afghanistan exit, COVID-19 vaccination success and anti-vax woes, and disinformation and misinformation campaigns. The list goes on . . . including:

Continue Reading...

Donald Trump unlocked revolving door for Terry Branstad

Former U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad and his former chief of staff in Beijing, Steve Churchill, recently formed a consulting group to provide “strategic insight and solutions to corporate leaders and investors conducting business in China and the United States.”

Countless former diplomats who served presidents of both parties have traveled the same path after leaving government service. Thanks to former President Donald Trump, Branstad was able to start cashing in a year early.

Continue Reading...

Rural Iowa and an approach to political dialogue

Charles Bruner: Democrats need to recognize rural Iowans’ frustration with the political system and start finding common ground.

Broadly generalizing, rural Iowans are good folk. They work hard and play by the rules, care about their neighbors, and seek to leave a future where their children can succeed and prosper. If an African American family moves in next door, they welcome them with fresh-based bread or cookies. They regard a child with Down syndrome reaching the age of majority as a part of the community and look out to see that youth is supported by and included in community life. They are entrepreneurs and tinker to be good stewards in preserving the land and community, in the context of a corporate agricultural economy.

Those qualities may not distinguish them greatly from city folk, but rural Iowans frequently have much more sense of and hands-on involvement in community life.

They also are older, whiter, and less likely to have college degrees than their urban counterparts. In 2008 and 2012, nearly half of Iowans outside large metro areas voted for Barack Obama for president. But a third of those who had voted for Obama switched away from the Democratic candidate for president in 2016. Donald Trump received about two-thirds of the rural Iowa vote in 2020.

Democrats have been wringing their hands over this shift – and the change in the county coffee shop conversations that must have occurred in small-town and rural Iowa.

Continue Reading...

Investing in Americans now will pay off for generations

Dr. Anita Fleming-Rife relates her family’s story in making the case for the Build Back Better Act.

In 1966, thanks to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s anti-poverty programs, I attended the Des Moines School of Practical Nursing—a year-long program. Our government invested in me, paying my tuition, buying my books and uniforms, and providing a stipend. 

When I divorced in 1971, I was able to take care of my three young children without government aid. This investment yielded even more dividends. Because I worked with other professionals who saw my hard work ethic, grit, and determination, they encouraged me to go back to school. I did, and I worked two jobs for the first half of my bachelor’s degree. I transferred from the urban center to a college town with three children in tow and completed my B.A. I would later earn an M.A. and PhD.

Continue Reading...

Once again, Democrats are in denial

Ira Lacher: Why is it so difficult for Democrats to do what Republicans are great at—seize an issue and run with it in a straight line to pay dirt?

On November 2, Democrats took a shellacking, losing the governorship of Virginia and nearly New Jersey, along with many local elections, once again illustrating they can’t convince enough Americans they share their values. Three days later, proving Napoleon’s adage “In politics, stupidity is not a handicap,” some doubled down.

Despite the Democratic-controlled U.S. House finally passing President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill that promises to repair dangerously broken bridges and highways, hasten to bring broadband internet to hundreds of rural counties, and enable scores of other improvements throughout much of America, six Democrats believed it still wasn’t progressive enough, and voted against it.

Continue Reading...
View More...