The majority should never decide minority rights

On this Transgender Day of Visibility, I want to take a moment to reflect on one part of Selzer & Co’s latest Iowa poll for the Des Moines Register and Mediacom. The survey asked 775 Iowa adults whether they supported various Republican proposals, including this one: “Require public school students to use the restroom of the gender assigned at birth even if the student does not identify as that gender now.”

Nick Coltrain summarized the findings: 47 percent of respondents said they favor restricting school bathroom use, 42 percent opposed, and 11 percent were not sure.

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As Grassley weighs 2022 plans, either path entails political risks

A new Iowa poll by Selzer & Co for the Des Moines Register and Mediacom contained shocking numbers: 55 percent of respondents, including 35 percent of Republicans surveyed, hope U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley does not run again in 2022. Just 28 percent of respondents (50 percent of Republicans) hope he will run for an eighth Senate term.

The same poll measured Grassley’s job approval at 48 percent, the lowest in this survey since 1982. Selzer polls routinely found Grassley’s approval to be above 70 percent during the 2000s and above 60 percent during the first half of the 2010s, a graph published in the Des Moines Register shows.

Although Grassley would be a prohibitive favorite to win again, the new numbers indicate widespread unease about the senator’s capacity to serve another six-year term.

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Anti-abortion constitutional amendment clears first Iowa House hurdle

Iowa Republicans have enacted most of their legislative agenda with little trouble during the past four years of full control of state government. But a few priorities eluded them, including a constitutional amendment that would pave the way for future abortion bans. Unable to find 51 votes in the state House for that measure last year, the GOP settled for mandating a 24-hour waiting period before all abortions.

The 2020 elections increased the GOP’s majority in the lower chamber from 53-47 to 59-41. Republicans didn’t waste time returning to unfinished business: a new version of the attack on reproductive rights cleared an Iowa House Judiciary subcommittee on January 19.

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Lessons we must learn

Ira Lacher: “If we are to avoid another four years like the last four years, we need to start learning our lessons — now.” -promoted by Laura Belin

It’s almost December, which means it’s almost New Year’s, which means many of us are preparing New Year’s resolutions.

I don’t like New Year’s resolutions because they are almost always too broad, too vague, too unattainable and too stressful. Which is why most of us abandon them before the flowers return in the spring, tra-la.

But rather than making disappointing promises I can’t keep, let’s look back on this year and learn from our mistakes. And hoo, boy, did we make mistakes. Particularly:

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First impressions

Ira Lacher‘s takeaways from the presidential election. -promoted by Laura Belin

No matter how this election turns out, two things are certain:

1. Polling remains hopelessly flawed. The “Bradley effect” took hold once again, as it did in 2016. The theory is named after former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, who lost the California governor’s race in 1982 despite hugely favorable pre-Election Day polling numbers. Reason: people tell pollsters what they want to hear instead of the perhaps socially unacceptable truth — like they beat their wives, smoke cigarettes or intend to vote for Donald Trump. And pollsters have never been able to account for that.

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