Your periodic reminder: No one's clearly favored to win Iowa

Twenty Democratic presidential contenders and Congressional candidate J.D. Scholten spoke to an excited, beyond-capacity crowd at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding on August 9. I love everything about this annual fundraiser in Clear Lake’s historic Surf Ballroom, except for the lack of Wi-Fi service.

C-SPAN posted all of the five-minute presidential candidate speeches with closed captioning transcripts, and the complete video from the evening is available on the Fox 10 Phoenix YouTube page. Mike Dec of the Blog4President website published photo galleries of all the speakers.

I left the Wing Ding with the same takeaways that have crossed my mind after almost every political event I’ve attended this year.

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The first Democratic debate and Iowa: Biden in real trouble and a race remade

Dan Guild puts the latest Democratic primary poll numbers in context. -promoted by Laura Belin

The above image and the accompanying story were national news within minutes of the end of the first debates. Kamala Harris attacking Joe Biden for his statements about busing and his praise for two old segregationist senators was the story of the June 27 event.

Less than a week later, the race in Iowa is remade.

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What the debates taught us

Ira Lacher: “For many Americans who only experience candidates through email appeals or in prepackaged videos, the debates provided an opportunity to see them as people.” -promoted by Laura Belin

Now that the first Democratic presidential debates have come and gone, what have we learned?

Forgetting and ignoring what the national media have said, here’s what I learned from my own and others’ observations from two nights of debate-watching parties.

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Follow Cory Booker's lead

The College and Young Democrats of Iowa have urged all the presidential campaigns to pay their interns. Lucy Karlin writes about her experience working for Cory Booker this summer. -promoted by Laura Belin

I have been an unpaid intern on Democratic campaigns for the last three years, and the experiences have inspired me to pursue political science as a major in college. As I am now in college, I knew I had to make money this summer to help pay for tuition, but I was torn because I didn’t know if that would enable me to still be engaged in campaigns.

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Julian Castro offers an immigration policy with an international approach

John Webb is a writer in Des Moines. Please read these guidelines if you would like to contribute to Bleeding Heartland’s coverage of the Iowa caucuses. -promoted by Laura Belin

Julian Castro has not yet caught fire in the mainstream media, and I think part of the reason is that he is not easily defined in neat and tidy terms. He is a product of public schools who went on to graduate from Harvard Law. He is the grandson of a woman who came to the U.S. at age 12 following the death of her parents. He is progressive and pragmatic in equal measure, yet he stresses bold policies to address big issues.

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