What candidates said about health care, reproductive rights at the Hall of Fame

Nineteen presidential candidates had five minutes each to make their case to more than 1,000 activists at the Iowa Democratic Party’s Hall of Fame event in Cedar Rapids on June 9. Most offered at least one really good applause line. Teams of reporters from the Des Moines Register and Iowa Starting Line pulled together some of the memorable parts of each speech here and here.

I decided to focus on how the candidates spoke about health care and women’s ability to access abortion for a couple of reasons. First, while the candidates highlighted a wide range of problems and proposals, almost all of them addressed those topics in some way.

Second, this post represents my gesture toward what media critic Jay Rosen has called the “citizens agenda” approach to covering campaigns. Although I lack survey data to know for sure what Iowa Democrats want the presidential contenders to be talking about, I believe health care and reproductive rights are among the most salient for caucus-goers, because:

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Interview: Pete Buttigieg on judicial appointments, reforming federal courts

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has made headlines for endorsing a plan to expand and restructure the U.S. Supreme Court, an issue he has discussed more often than other candidates running for president. The topic may strike a chord with many activists; a national poll commissioned in April by Demand Justice found that most Democrats likely to participate in the 2020 primaries disapprove of the job the Supreme Court is doing.

Bleeding Heartland asked Buttigieg more broadly about potential changes to the federal judiciary in a 15-minute telephone interview on June 7.

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Joe Biden will probably lose Iowa

Dan Guild examines what history tells us about how to interpret the latest Iowa Democratic caucus poll by Selzer & Co for the Des Moines Register, Mediacom, and CNN. -promoted by Laura Belin

It has been two months since the last good Iowa caucus poll. This is actually unusual: you have to go back to 1996 to find a similar gap. So the latest poll by Selzer & Co (what does the Des Moines Register have against Saturday nights?) was eagerly anticipated.

Joe Biden announced his candidacy to great fanfare on April 25. Within two weeks, national polling showed him picking up between 10 and 15 points. But there is no national primary. I wrote here in March that I Biden was a VERY weak front runner based on his Iowa polling to date.

Ed Kilgore speculated around the time of Biden’s announcement that he had a “shock and awe” strategy.

Did that strategy work? Has it moved votes in Iowa?

Tonight the Des Moines Register provided its verdict: No.

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Memorial Day: Iowans fallen in wars

President Donald Trump reportedly considered pardoning Americans accused or convicted of war crimes on this Memorial Day. Fox News personalities, not military officials, have pushed for the pardons, which “could erode the legitimacy of military law and undercut good order and discipline in the ranks.”

Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Glenn Kirschner wrote, “These contemplated pardons represent a degradation — not a celebration — of Memorial Day.” Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, who served in Afghanistan, commented that Trump’s “idea that being sent to fight makes you automatically into some kind of war criminal is a slander against veterans.”

Since Memorial Day (first known as Decoration Day) is supposed to be about honoring Americans who died during military service, let’s take a moment to consider those soldiers.

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Stupid to shun Fox News

Ira Lacher argues that Democratic candidates for president should accept invitations to hold town halls on Fox News. -promoted by Laura Belin

Our dog sitter is a wonderful young man with an engaging smile, modest persona and, above all, a tremendous caring spirit. He also watches Fox News.

An estimated 2.5 million Americans get at least part of their prime-time news and information from Fox News. Which makes it a dynamic “D-oh!” why most Democratic Party presidential nominees refuse to accept the network’s invitation to appear in a town hall format, hosted by one of their news anchors, not one of their right-wing talking heads.

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Faith and opportunity

Ira Lacher argues that Democratic presidential contenders should accept an invitation from a leading social conservative in Iowa. -promoted by Laura Belin

From the moment the first Pilgrim set foot in the New World, the American cloth has been sewn by those motivated by religion. Our uniqueness results largely in part from those who brought their religious traditions with them, and by their descendants, who tailored those traditions to acclimate to their inherited country.

The Southern black church gave birth to the civil rights movement; marchers at Selma included Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. Jesuit priests Daniel and Philip Berrigan helped define the Vietnam peace movement. Muslims Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Muhammad Ali rose to the top of their sports. Thousands of others have used their faith traditions to make significant impacts on every aspect of American life. As President Barack Obama told PBS in its 2010 series God in America, “We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and non-believers.”

But that ecumenism has been sundered. Since the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 declared abortion to be a right, evangelical Christians, anointing themselves guardians of faith, have been determined to make the word of the Lord, as they interpret it, the law of the land.

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