I’m tired. I’m worn out. My energy has been sapped. I am tired of getting up every day and bracing myself to learn who or what, in the dawn’s early light, the president has demeaned, disparaged or mocked like a school kid. I long for the days when political leaders try to bring us together, rather than drive us apart.
For 40-plus years, Iowa has been pulling the wool over the eyes of the free world every four years. It is time our state’s political leaders put aside their love of the national spotlight and retire the much-ballyhooed Iowa caucuses – or overhaul the process to address the obvious flaws that exist with the event. I say that, not because some people think Iowa is the wrong location for the first stop in the process of choosing the Democrats’ and the Republicans’ nominees for president. Randy Evans STRAY THOUGHTS Randy Evans is the executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council. He is a former editorial page editor and assistant managing editor of The Des Moines Register.
Former Vice President Joe Biden drew more people but Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a presumptive long-shot in a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, still was able to rouse Democrats and generally curious Iowans who heard both men speak at the Iowa State Fair Thursday. Such is the landscape in Iowa, the state with the nation’s first precinct caucuses that start gauging real delegate support for selecting a party’s 2020 presidential nominee: first-time national candidates, in this case seeing an opportunity to defeat a controversial Republican president in Donald Trump, vie with national figures more familiar to voters to gain support for higher office. Iowa gets them all before the winnowing process begins. Bullock told fairgoers the election must be about more than defeating Trump. “Look, I’m a pro-choice, pro-union, populist Democrat that won three eletions in a red state, not by compromising our values but by getting stuff done,” he said.
Let’s skip the debate over whether our president bears even a smidgen of blame for contributing to the domestic terrorist incidents last week in the United States. Let’s agree we are never going to agree, so there’s no use driving each other’s blood pressure higher by talking more about that.
Leading Iowa Democrats say changes in how their precinct caucuses are run will make participation in the nation’s first presidential nominating caucuses more open in 2020 than it was in 2016, when confusion existed over how caucus night delegates supporting Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were selected.
Iowa Democratic Party leaders are trying to fix problems party members saw in the 2016 presidential precinct caucuses, which had their fair share of overloaded rooms, missed opportunities for some registered Democrats to participate fully and coin flips to determine county convention delegate commitments.
One of the more dramatic suggestions for the Iowa Democratic Party’s next presidential precinct caucuses is letting people who cannot attend still register their preference for president. Whether that becomes the game plan for the 2020 caucuses is to be determined.
The biggest concern facing the general public when it tries to determine what news source to trust? “The wide variety of people who produce news, and only some of them our journalists,” David Ryfe, professor and chairman of the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication, said in this IowaWatch Connection podcast.