All In for Iowa Caucuses #39

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Deepnews Digest #39

All In for Iowa Caucuses

It’s here. After months (and for some years) of debating and speculating who the Democratic Party should put up to challenge Donald Trump, the first votes will be taken on Monday in the Hawkeye State. There are plenty of pundits talking about the horse race, though this selection found with the Deepnews Scoring Model focuses on the in-depth reported pieces. Included are articles national and local about the perculiarities of the Iowa caucuses, their place in American life, and how the different candidates want to use them as a first step towards the White House.

Story Source
Minnesota Public Radio/AP
Standing in the glare of television lights at a Democratic presidential debate last fall, she was asked about her years as a top Minnesota prosecutor and allegations she was not committed to racial justice. “That’s not my record,” she said, staring into the camera.

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Slate
It was nine days until the Iowa caucus, and the data dump from numerous pollsters that weekend showed a Sanders surge, a phenomenon reflected in national and New Hampshire polls as well. That energy was apparent in the campaign’s events throughout the day on Saturday, which culminated with an evening rally in Ames where about 1,000 people watched Sanders, finally able to get away from impeachment trial duty, in the main auditorium while another 400 milled about in the gymnasium serving as an overflow room. If the Sanders campaign is having any problem in Iowa, it’s the high expectations it has created: The state, in the final sprint to the finish line, is becoming Sanders’ to lose.

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NY Times
At the start of his 2020 bid, the Vermont senator told his supporters that he condemned bullying. Is it his problem if many don’t seem to listen?

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The Atlantic
A pocket of iconoclasts want to eliminate Iowa’s treasured tradition once and for all.

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NBC News
DES MOINES, Iowa — Kiki Levy has only the faintest memory of seeing then-candidate Barack Obama at a rally here just before the 2008 caucuses.

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Times of San Diego
Aspiring Democratic presidential candidates, welcome to California. You’re not in Iowa anymore.

Editor’s Note: While multiple entries on this list deal with Iowa’s status as “first in the nation,” 2020 is different in that the big prize of California comes up quickly in early March. Here Cal Matters writes in the Times of San Diego about the gold mine of delegates in the Golden State.

The Gazette (Cedar Rapids)
Is it a death grip or a limp handshake? President Donald Trump’s grasp on the Republican Party grassroots will get its first big test of 2020 next month in Iowa.

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NY Times
Hot dish, the Minnesota-specific church-supper stalwart that cooks in other parts of the country might mistake for a casserole, is no stranger to hard work.

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McClatchy
DES MOINES – Iowa Democrats pride themselves on voting first — and picking winners.

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Washington Post
DES MOINES, Iowa – Every four years, presidential candidates show up in Iowa and act like your neediest Tinder match.

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Little Village Mag (Iowa City)
After more than a year of constant campaigning by 30 different candidates (26 Democrats and four Republicans) and their supporters, the Iowa Caucus will finally be held on Monday, Feb. 3. Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) officials are anticipating a massive showing.

Editor’s Note: One thing that Deepnews does really well is highlight pieces from smaller, local outlets. Though they have struggled financially over the years, many are still putting in the work to cover events for their communities, including several in our Digest. Here Little Village Mag in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids breaks down the caucuses and what’s new for those who will actually be attending.

The Scarlet and Black (Grinnell College)
Besides the candidates themselves, the Iowa caucuses bring an increase in statewide economic activity, the effects of which Grinnell business owners and residents witness firsthand.

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Washington Examiner
IOWA FALLS, Iowa — In a primary marked by its sharp turn to the political Left, a handful of 2020 Democrats are pedaling their appeal to Republicans and independents in their closing arguments before next week’s Iowa caucuses, with mixed results.

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The Daily Beast
INDIANOLA, Iowa — If you ask undecided caucus-goers at Pete Buttigieg’s town halls across Iowa why they’re thinking of supporting the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, you often get the same response: He’s smart, stupid.

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WSJ ($)
Head of talent and cybersecurity aides depart, and some nonwhite staffers criticize a lack of inclusivity By Tarini Parti and Tarini Parti The Wall Street Journal BiographyTarini Parti @tparti tarini.parti@wsj.com Dustin Volz Dustin Volz The Wall Street Journal BiographyDustin Volz @dnvolz dustin.volz@wsj.com Jan. 28, 2020 7:28 am ET

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Buzzfeed
AMES, Iowa — It’s 25 degrees in Ames, and students at Iowa State University are bundled up in parkas and puffer jackets, speed-walking past piles of snow on the way to classes and meetings near the school’s library. In the middle of all the confusion is Dhruv Raturi, a 26-year-old international graduate student who won’t be participating in Monday’s presidential caucus but who’s still trying to get other students on campus to commit to caucusing for Bernie Sanders.

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Poynter
The Iowa caucuses have grown into two roles: They serve as a slingshot for candidates to move on to other states, and as a funnel that winnows down big fields of candidates.

Editor’s Note: The Iowa caucuses are a political event but are also of course a media event. Here Poynter breaks down what the contests mean.

Time
When Joel Campbell and roughly 30 other Iowa voters with disabilities gathered in a church auditorium in Ames, Iowa a couple weeks ago, they were prepared to caucus. But instead of debating the best presidential candidate, they were advocating for their favorite breakfast cereal.

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Boston Globe ($)
“I ran for president because we wanted to bring about an America where everyone counts,” he said. “In order to do that, we need to make real improvements in this country, and we need a leader that sees herself as a president for everybody.”

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The Nation
Des Moines, Iowa — There’s a terrific video of Elizabeth Warren getting the word on Saturday that the next morning’s edition of The Des Moines Register would feature a glowing endorsement of her candidacy. The senator from Massachusetts can be seen jumping and dancing for joy. Rightly so. Every candidate who holds hope of finishing well in the February 3 Iowa caucuses wanted the backing of the state’s largest newspaper, and Warren got it.

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Brookings
On Monday night, February 3, 2020, Iowans will flock to school auditoriums, union halls, community centers and even a few private homes in 1,681 precincts across the state of Iowa to give us the first glimpse of how real voters feel about the race for the Democratic nomination for president. Because they are unique in the modern American electoral system, a bit of confusion over how to interpret the results is understandable. For those seeking to understand the opening gambit of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, the following is a short guide to the results and how to interpret them.

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FiveThirtyEight
When you think about Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s ground game, you probably don’t think about growing vegetables. But when a neighborhood association president in Des Moines, Iowa, told Warren field organizer Jarae Hines that the local community garden needed some TLC, he responded, “Perfect — we’ll be there every Saturday.” And after getting his hands dirty — literally — for two months with other community members, he found he had a fresh crop of willing volunteers for Warren’s campaign.

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Politico
On Wednesday I was back in Iowa for the final days before the caucuses. With four of his rivals presiding at Trump’s trial, Joe Biden had the state almost to himself and the contrast with Sanders was telling. While In Washington I watched Sanders struggle to generate excitement among his Senate colleagues, in Iowa I watched Joe Biden, the candidate with the most Senate endorsements, struggle to generate enthusiasm among a small group of voters in Council Bluffs, on the Nebraska border.

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The New York Times
Seemingly nonpolitical topics can shed light on political preferences.

Editor’s Note: The NY Times appears several times on this list, with a dedicated team of reporters on the ground in Iowa. This one is more analytical, but provides a fascinating look at how certain attributes, such as eating at an Indian restaurant recently, align with voter choice.

Creston, Iowa, News Advertiser
Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang visits Adair and Union counties to spread message of opportunity.

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