Iowa Democrats dismiss Julián Castro's critique at our peril

“If you didn’t know anything about this process, and I told you how it was set up, you would think that a right-wing Republican set this process up, because it really makes it harder to vote than it should be,” Julián Castro told a room full of Iowa Democrats at Drake University on December 10.

Castro’s campaign organized the town hall (which I moderated) to highlight problems with the Iowa caucus system and a calendar that starts with two overwhelmingly white states.

Now that Castro has ended his presidential bid, it may be tempting to dismiss his critique as sour grapes from a candidate who wasn’t gaining traction in Iowa.

That would be a mistake. Castro is only the most high-profile messenger for a sentiment that is widespread and growing in Democratic circles nationally.

If Iowa Democrats want to keep our prized position for the next presidential cycle and beyond, we need to acknowledge legitimate concerns about the caucuses and take bigger steps to make the process more accessible.

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Vulnerable communities hit harder by floods, slower to recover

Residents of low-income communities are more likely to suffer property damage from floods but less likely to be fully compensated for losses and also less likely to benefit from flood mitigation efforts, according to a report the Iowa Policy Project published on December 12.

University of Iowa graduate student Joseph Wilensky wrote “Flooding and Inequity: Policy Responses on the Front Line” (click here for the summary and here for the full text). His focus was on “frontline communities”:

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Beto O'Rourke is writing no one off, taking no one for granted

Emilio Escobar is a Lennox, Iowa resident and the brother of U.S. Representative Veronica Escobar of Texas. -promoted by Laura Belin

I have proudly called Iowa my home for the last ten years. It truly exemplifies the Midwestern values and rich agricultural history that I love. I grew up in El Paso, Texas along the U.S. — Mexico border, just like presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke. You’ll often hear him mention El Paso in his speeches, and more often than not, you’ll hear him use words like unity, diversity, shared beliefs, and common purpose – values he learned growing up there.

I just returned from visiting family in El Paso last month. The city was still reeling from the mass shooting in August, a topic of conversation everywhere I went. They’re proud of their native son Beto — for the way he carries himself in this campaign, to the way he consoled and led our native city. I count myself in that club, and it was an honor to speak on his behalf at the Latino Heritage Festival in Des Moines recently. Beto is the right choice for president because he writes no one off and takes no one for granted — no matter how different their views are from his.

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