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 Detroit debates and Iowa's political proving ground

James Larew presents a contrarian view on last week’s Democratic debates. -promoted by Laura Belin

When the smoke had cleared from the Battle of Gettysburg, fought from July 1 to 3, 1863, it appeared to have been just one more bloody battle in the midst of a war that had no obvious end in sight. Only later—after thousands more skirmishes had been fought—would it become clear that so much more had been achieved at Gettysburg. History would show that the Civil War’s end, culminating in General Lee’s surrender to General Grant, at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia, on April 9, 1865 had been predicated nearly two years earlier, when the tides of the entire war had shifted in the Union’s favor at Gettysburg.

So, too, history may record that, on July 30 and 31, 2019, in Detroit, Michigan, well before Iowa’s 2020 presidential nominating caucuses had even been convened, two successive Democratic party presidential nominee debates involving twenty candidates significantly winnowed the field and defined the ultimate outcome of the nomination process: that former Vice President Joe Biden would be the party’s nominee.

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Tanks in Washington and other July 4 links

President Donald Trump has ordered a military parade and flyover in Washington, DC to celebrate Independence Day. He’s been wanting to stage this kind of display since his first year in office.

The production will cost millions of additional dollars and shut down air traffic to and from Reagan National Airport for hours. Republican donors and VIPs will get special passes to watch the festivities in a restricted area. Traditionally, all July 4 events in the nation’s capital have been free and open to the public.

The National Park Service is diverting $2.5 million “primarily intended to improve parks across the country” to cover a “fraction of the extra costs,” the Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin, Josh Dawsey, and Dan Lamothe reported on July 2. The “entire Fourth of July celebration on the Mall typically costs the agency about $2 million,” a former Park Service deputy director told the newspaper. Costs could escalate if the heavy military equipment damages streets.

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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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Overindependence

Ira Lacher reflects on the impact of federalism. -promoted by Laura Belin

On the eve of Independence Day, let us take a moment to consider that, like knowledge, too much independence is a dangerous thing.

When the founders declared America’s independence from Britain, they envisioned a nation composed of 13 semiautonomous states, which would maintain a delicate balance with a central government. That Rube Goldberg gadget empowered states to declare which human beings were human beings and which were property.

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