The 18 most-viewed Bleeding Heartland posts of 2018

Sometimes I feel nostalgic for my “past life” covering Russian politics. Social media didn’t exist, and my colleagues and I had no information about which articles most interested our readers. Potential for clicks or shares didn’t factor into our story selection. We wrote up what seemed important to us.

On any given day, a half-dozen or more newsworthy Iowa politics stories present themselves, but I only have the capacity to cover one or two. I look for ways to add value: can I highlight events not covered elsewhere? Can I offer a different perspective or more context on the story everyone’s talking about?

Although chasing traffic will never be my primary goal, doing this for more than a decade has given me a decent sense of which topics will strike a chord with readers. But you never really know. Just like last year and the year before that, surprises lurked in the traffic numbers on Bleeding Heartland posts published during 2018 (353 written by me, 202 by other authors).

Continue Reading...

Recognizing Bleeding Heartland's talented 2018 guest authors

The Bleeding Heartland community lost a valued voice this year when Johnson County Supervisor Kurt Friese passed away in October. As Mike Carberry noted in his obituary for his good friend, Kurt had a tremendous amount on his plate, and I was grateful whenever he found time to share his commentaries in this space. His final post here was a thought-provoking look at his own upbringing and past intimate relationships in light of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Friese was among more than 100 guest authors who produced 202 Bleeding Heartland posts during 2018, shattering the previous record of 164 posts by 83 writers in 2017. I’m thankful for every piece and have linked to them all below.

You will find scoops grounded in original research, commentary about major news events, personal reflections on events from many years ago, and stories in photographs or cartoons. Some posts were short, while others developed an argument over thousands of words. Pieces by Allison Engel, Randy Richardson, Tyler Higgs, and Matt Chapman were among the most-viewed at the site this year. In the full list, I’ve noted other posts that were especially popular.

Please get in touch if you would like to write about any political topic of local, statewide, or national importance during 2019. If you do not already have a Bleeding Heartland account, I can set one up for you and explain the process. There is no standard format or word limit. I copy-edit for clarity but don’t micromanage how authors express themselves. Although most authors write under their real names, pseudonyms are allowed here and may be advisable for those writing about sensitive topics or whose day job does not permit expressing political views. I ask authors to disclose potential conflicts of interest, such as being are a paid staffer, consultant, or lobbyist promoting any candidate or policy they discuss here.

Continue Reading...

What’s happening with the University of Iowa's Labor Center?

Cedar Rapids native Austin Wu is a University of Iowa undergraduate. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Since Bleeding Heartland covered the planned closure of the University of Iowa Labor Center in July, much has happened regarding the center’s fate and future. Public reaction against its demise has been swift and sustained, coming not only from traditional beneficiaries of the Labor Center, but from UI students as well.

Continue Reading...

Even in defeat, Peter Cownie's better off than Iowans with bad shoulder injuries

Ninth in a series interpreting the results of Iowa’s 2018 state and federal elections.

Money couldn’t buy a sixth term for State Representative Peter Cownie. Republicans spent more trying to hold his district than on any other Iowa House race, by far. Nevertheless, Democratic challenger Kristin Sunde defeated Cownie by nearly 1,200 votes in House district 42.

The loss must sting. Cownie would have led the House Ways and Means Committee next year, a powerful position as Republicans in full control of state government plan more tax cuts skewed toward corporations and wealthy people.

But in this season of giving thanks, Cownie can be grateful he will continue to be well-compensated. In contrast, Iowans with career-altering shoulder injuries are experiencing tremendous hardship under a 2017 law Cownie introduced and fast-tracked.

Continue Reading...

Vote for Jodi Clemens in Iowa House district 73

Kyla Paterson is a community activist from Johnson County.

I met Jodi Clemens when I was door knocking in the primaries. From the first time of meeting her, I knew she was a special candidate. Since then, we’ve become very close through local organizing and this is why I’m writing this.

Jodi is amazing and I believe she will serve your district well! Jodi is someone who sticks to her values, someone who shows kindness to every constituent no matter their party affiliation and someone who has a deep interest in listening. We need folks to take notice, because she runs a positive campaign about the issues that affect everyday people’s lives.

She will work towards restoring collective bargaining rights, to create an affordable health care option, and will support making sure our public education is funded properly. She believes we need to get money out of politics and that we should make sure people’s lives are respected and every person is treated with dignity. She also speaks to those in her district the way a true representative should speak to constituents.

I support Jodi Clemens because she will keep her progressive message and doesn’t let anyone scare her away from being strong on issues. She inspires me, as a young woman who wants to eventually run for office herself, and I think she is exactly the kind of candidate we need to be a role model to future elected officials who will run in the future.

Another reason I support Jodi is because she sincerely cares for her friends and community. She stands up for the most vulnerable and lifts their voices up. That is why I encourage everyone in Iowa House district 73 to go vote for Jodi Clemens, because she is a voice for real progress and is a person who you can count on!

Top image: Jodi Clemens (left) with Kyla Paterson.

Editor’s note: Jodi Clemens is running against three-term Republican State Representative Bobby Kaufmann in a district covering Cedar County and parts of Johnson County.

Here’s Jodi Clemens canvassing with Johnson County Supervisor Kurt Friese just a few days before Friese passed away last month.

Continue Reading...
View More...