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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Democrats have long known that they would have to win elections in some severely conservative states in order to protect their Senate majority in November’s elections. But 36 days before voters head to the polls, a blue state might ultimately cost them control of Congress’ upper chamber.

According to a new Des Moines Register poll of likely voters, Republican state senator Joni Ernst has opened up a 6-point lead over Democratic congressman Bruce Braley in Iowa’s Senate race. The poll is the latest in a series of surveys showing Ernst with the wind at her back; she now leads Braley by 2.2 percent in the Real Clear Politics poll average.

This is hugely problematic for Democrats. On paper, the race to replace retiring liberal Senator Tom Harkin should favor Braley, a four-term congressman from Grinnell. Although Iowa has soured on President Barack Obama, its voters have historically supported Braley’s brand of populist politics, and the state has voted for the Democrat in six of the past seven presidential elections. Even taking the more conservative nature of midterm electorates into account, most analysts thought that a candidate as far to the right as Ernst — who backs hardline policies such as eliminating the minimum wage, privatizing Social Security, and outlawing abortion and some forms of birth control — was a longshot in a statewide election.

Still, Ernst is thriving. One main reason has been her success at turning the race into a contrast of personalities. Despite the glaring policy differences between the two candidates, much of the media’s campaign coverage has focused on Ernst’s zany ads and Braley’s dispute over wandering chickens (Republicans have endlessly claimed that Braley threatened to sue his neighbor for failing to keep her therapy hens out of his yard, a charge he denies). That episode, along with an ill-advised remark that Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is unfit to to chair the Judiciary Committee because he’s merely “a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school,” have helped Republicans make the case that Braley is an out-of-touch elitist, and kept the Democrat on the defensive.

This framing of the race was on display in the aftermath of Sunday’s debate between the candidates. Speaking to the Des Moines Register, political scientist Dennis Golford praised Ernst as an “excellent performer” who “seems to radiate a certain kind of confidence.”

That Ernst’s debate performance was a factual tire fire went less emphasized.

Democrats clearly understand the need to introduce voters to Ernst’s outside-the-mainstream positions (hence DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz disparaging her as “an onion of crazy“). But they are running out of time.

If Ernst does hold on to win, it would make a Republican majority in the next Congress a near certainty. With Harkin’s seat going to the GOP, Democrats would likely need to win three of the four Senate races in deep-red Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, and North Carolina to maintain control. In those states, Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) is the only Democrat ahead in the polls.

Screenshot: YouTube

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  • dtgraham

    Joni Ernst is the end product of a political movement that has strayed so far to the extreme right that the available talent pool of those with shared ideas and values is almost non-existent. We get people like Ernst, I’m-not-a-witch O’Donnell, chickens-for-checkups Lowden, second-amendment-remedies Angle, rape-is-god’s-will Mourdock, legitimate-rape Akin…raised to national prominence simply because no one with thoughtfulness, nuance and intelligence is competing against them within their own party.

    • joe schmo

      We have checks and balances in this Country, remember? As far as I can see it is still working to some degree. Why should your side have it all….. Seems you can’t face the fact that Obama’s approval rating is in the toilet. Potty mouth Schultz didn’t exactly help your cause…..

      • dtgraham

        Did Ed Schultz make some off coloured remark about Joni Ernst, or are you just referring to that Laura Ingraham thing from quite a while ago? I hadn’t heard anything about it.

      • Jambi

        Somebody needs to “Check” to see if YOU are “Balanced” my lost friend…

      • sleepvark

        la scmuka, where are the checks and balances in your brain, such as it is? You have a terrible problem with your whinery complex. All whine, no cheese and no solutions or suggestions.
        Let me help you with some examples. Your life might improve dramatically with this one little action on your part.
        Go to the nearest toilet, stick your head in it and flush several times.
        Now we all feel better.

      • jmprint

        Let me see; Kansas and New Jersey have their rating lowered due to the republicans wonderful tax cut, that didn’t create any jobs, and now you think that If Iowa experiments with the same ideology things will be different?

    • sigrid28

      Democrats in Iowa are just as xenophobic as Republicans in the state: Mo one but party insiders can talk to campaign leadership on the phone. Joni Ernst is photogenic, so people can swallow the lies in her ads, that blanket the airways, or sit watching like dolts, if you mute the sound: Our voters lead lives, as the saying goes, of “quiet desperation,” so a pretty face eases the day’s monotony. Since she has no substance, and many Iowa “values voters” are already decided (early voting by absentee ballot is already open in Iowa),

  • Stuart

    Why are Republicans ahead ANYWHERE? Progressives never seem to ask themselves this question.

    • joe schmo

      ……and Progressive is another word for Communist….. I think Conservatives tell themselves that all the time….We know, comrad:)

      • dtgraham

        That’s the problem joe. The problem being that, “Conservatives tell themselves that all the time.” The reason that’s a problem is because the free enterprise capitalist system based on liberal/progressive, social democratic principles is in no way, shape, or form the same as Soviet or East German communism. Nowhere remotely close. Talk to the average Scandinavian about that.

        • Dominick Vila

          The reason they keep telling each other the same nonsense is because the economic successes of Democrats like Presidents Clinton and Obama are poison to GOP rhetoric and their chances of ever winning the White House again. With that in mind, their only option is to bring back the Cold War boogeyman to energize the zombies that attend the Tea Party rallies.

        • We aren’t there quite yet, but we are heading that way very quickly.

          • edwardw69

            As paranoid as you are, I am surprised you can even function.

      • BillP

        Using that logic Schmuck, Conservatives is just another word for Fascists. Then again it’s just another example of your usual bs logic.

      • cpbis

        WHAT????? You best read the definition!

      • sleepvark

        josephine old girl, back from your vacation in Mordor, are you now. You are the most educated fool to grace these pages. But no matter how much lipstick you wear, you are still ugly.

        • jmprint

          His implant didn’t go well either ken and joe used the same surgeon.

  • cosliberal

    As long as Dems refuse to attack the GOP on their two biggest liabilities – the lazy (as typified by the lack of legislative days in the House) and the crazy, Ernst is just the latest iteration, they will never blow the GOP out to the level they deserve. The issues are on the side of the Ds, but they don’t resonate. Calling the GOP out for lazy and crazy would.

    • bobnstuff

      The house passes lots of bills, nothing of any value but lots of noise. What the democrats need to do is debate every bill the house sends up as written. Let the public see just who the republicans are working for.

      • sigrid28

        Debate is great, but House rules can limit debate, just as Senate rules can limit debate in the Senate. Then there is the infrequency of debate in either branch of our legislature, both of which are now on recess. Why? Because there are no issues of importance to hash out? Because some states have been so devastated by natural disasters that their leaders must be hands on deck? No. It is so that candidates from both parties can control their messages and campaign.

        I’ve watched hearings and floor debates in both the House and Senate live on C-span. One problem is that many Americans cannot watch these because they occur during the work day. Maybe a highlight reel for each day’s sessions would be a good idea, but Democrats would put together one kind and Republicans another. Some of these debates are pretty wonky. Others are soporific. The votes, which should be exciting, drag on interminably, though you can see the numbers on the screen and keep a tally–very, very slowly. Even this is better than the prefab news coming out of cable 24/7 that repeats all day, until the next “breaking news.”

        • bobnstuff

          The 24/7 news channels have very little news, mostly opinions. Fox News argued that they weren’t a news channel but an entertainment channel, that way they could not be held responsible for untruths. Real news costs them money but talking heads are cheep.

      • edwardw69

        Reid should have taken up some of the crazier ones, instead of burying them. All we hear is how the House has sent hundreds of jobs bilsl to the Senate, but we don’t hear about the riders attached.

    • sleepvark

      I almost hate to say it, but perhaps it would be a good thing for Iowa to elect that silly girl. Let her record reflect her lunacy. Her constituents will get exactly what they are asking for, another eternal embarrassment.

  • After 8 years of Bush most Americans would and did vote for anything that was not Bush like”. Hence we got our Emperor. Now after 6 years of failed polices, and a “leader” that seems to think America should apologize for its existence, voters will be looking again for change. America is starting to wake up to the fact that dems are turning our country into a communist police state. Hopefully, there will never be another liberal elected to ANY position.

    • edwardw69

      If we were a “communist police state” do you think you would still be outside a cage? Do you think you would still be able to post a comment like that?

      • No, but if the liberals stay in power, dissenters will be rounded up and stuffed in all those FEMA camps. Why do you think all government agencies are being armed? Liberals have already tried to curtail freedom of speech.

        • edwardw69


          • Americans that support this tyrant, or are just believing everything that is told to them , are making it easy for this regime to thrust its agenda on America. If people keep supporting this illegal regime, we will lose our country.

          • cpbis

            How sad! Our economy is well on the rebound, unemployment is at 6.1% (would be 5.3 if the GOP allowed the plan on our infrastructure, market at all-time highs, consumer confidence highest in 15 years, on and on! But no, let us go back to the Bush years and why…..because we “hate” Obama personally? Wow! WE would prefer to hurt ourselves than support our current successes? Not very intelligent.

          • Unemployment is actually more like 12%.

          • cpbis

            The problem is not what you seem to think. The problem is we have a large number of individuals who lost their jobs while in their 50’s and 60’s making it, unfortunately, very difficult for them to find work that would provide enough money to live as they were use too. We were warned in 2006 that if the administration did not act soon, we would suffer a turndown and our rating would be dropped considerably. As we know that did in fact happen. We must recognize that the Obama administration not only saved us from a near depression but has added more jobs than any president in the past several years. If we had allowed for the infrastructure program the administration wanted to implement the unemployment rate would have gone down to 5,3% or so and we would have realized 3 to 4 dollars for every dollar invested. We must not allow the misled hatred of Obama to destroy the progress we have made even with the obstructionism of the GOP or we will find ourselves in the same mess the previous administration put us in.

          • iowasteve

            I must comment on this – illegal regime?? Which is what? We have already gone way past that issue. And if you are referring back to the birthers non-sense, then you need to be sure to stop Ted Cruz from running. Now, let’s talk about tyrants here. Joni comes to mind. Eliminate minimum wage??? You guys better be ready for the huge influx of welfare applications. Eliminate abortions?? We don’t have enough room to bury all of the mothers and babys who died from complications. And it will open the door to many more rapes and incest cases cuz who’s going to worry about someone getting pregnant? And who’s going to prosecute or arrest them anyway since the republicans are against women in general. Eliminate birth control – well that just goes along with the last comment. Joni is for who??? Certainly NOT Iowa and the farmers here. She is a complete and total lunatic and anyone that opens their eyes can see this. Social security is none of her concern – it is quite obvious. You want to save social security, start by eliminating the cap that prevents the fair input to the fund by the rich bastards that are right in front when it’s time to retire and collect those benefits that they only partially paid into. Social security is an entitlement to me, I paid `100 percent into the fund since I started working – to a rich bastard, it’s a welfare check. You want to save social security – stop the government from taking money out of it for other uses! The government paying back what they owe the social security fund would keep it alive for many more decades! What about those ideas Joni??? That won’t work in your world because it makes sense – Joni the only ones that will benefit from privatizing social security are your friends on wall street. You helping them, will kill social security for those who need it. You are against ethanol as well. You claim you are for the farmers and the working middle class in Iowa, shutting down ethanol plants will put tens of thousands of plant workers out of work – thus hurting Iowa in many areas. Raises the cost of gas, increases unemployment, which you do like in the first place. Puts more people on welfare, which you also are in favor of eliminating. Also could cause people to leave the state looking for other work. Joni, you’re a pompous asshole and those die hard republicans can’t even see this because they can’t see past what fox news and rush tells them to see. I am a registered voter in Iowa and I can promise you one thing, I’m voting for Iowa – and that’s NOT JONI!

          • Irrational crazy talk, w/no evidence of proof, is just that – crazy as a loon, blabbering…

          • sleepvark

            kenndebbie old girl, so many scary things to be afraid of! Lions and tigers and bears, oh my, and a big scary black man in the white house to boot!
            Your arsenal is nowhere big enough to protect you from so many boogie men. Better go buy some more guns.

          • Do your parents know you are on the computer again? Just another scared little bitch that lives in his moms basement.

          • jmprint

            You need to start with the man in the mirror. Your statements are very delusional. NO FACTS, NO SUBSTANCE, Just plain gibberish.

        • bobnstuff

          I have asked you this before, just who is going to put us into those camps? The police,2.7 per 1000, the army, 7.3 per 1000, the Muslims, .5 per 1000. Who are you afraid of? Have you ever meet a liberal policeman? Who past the Patriot Act? Just who is pushing to arm the agencies, your friend at the NRA.

          • Most likely homeland security, but with most of government agencies being armed as military units, it could be all and any. I’m not afraid of anything, but I do worry about our out of control government. Bush passed the Patriot act, but

          • bobnstuff

            There is 1 homeland security employee for every 1600 people in this country so I don’t think I will loose any sleep over being carried off by them. You know so little about everything you say it never ceases to amaze me. I’m not indoctrinated, I’m awake and don’t trust people who make their living by scaring people like you.

        • midway54

          The last time I heard that was some time ago when Michelle Bachmann was spouting prison camps for dissenters in an appearance on the floor of the House. You and she occupy the same horribly defective mentality, and the plutocrats love you both as dependable, supporting lunatics.

        • sleepvark

          kkkennboobs old girl, you’re back. We’ve missed you at the Village Idiot Weekly. Your contributions are highly valued here. btw how are those breast implants doing?

          • jmprint

            His implants didn’t go well, it effected her brain, thats why she talks out of her poop shoot.

    • U jest, of course; our Constitution, Bill of Right, Declaration, Federalist Papers, as well as the bulk of all laws on the books ARE Liberal/Progressive!!! Talk to US about that & while U’r at it, what exactly was conservatives’ contributed to ANY of that? I’ll answer 4U – OBSTRUCTION – from day 1 til NOW, the legal extension of ALL LAWS, RIGHTS, PRIVILEGES, LIBERTIES, FREEDOMS, not to mention EQUALITY OF ACCESS to ALL Americans of every RACE, GENDER, AGE, CLASS, CULTURE, W/OUT EXCEPTION – all being LIBERAL/PROGRESSIVE by definition & invention… AGAIN & conservatives contribution to all THIS was………. We’re waiting… for ANY conservative to… counter THESE FACTS…… In challenging any rational, intelligent voter to prove how conservatives have earned the right to a majority in Congress after ignoring & legislating AGAINST the American people CONSISTENTLY since 2001 & in earnest, since 2010?

      • Whatmeworry

        Utter gibberish. Our founders believed in life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They didn’t believe in a huge central govt and stated as such that any thing not enumerated in the constitution was the domain of the States

        • But we need a huge, out of control government to rule over us. More government means less freedom. Isn’t that what our founding fathers wanted? A government that rules over us, and controls our every move and thought?

      • There was a time when the liberals and progressives were not all bad, but now they seem to back a tyrant and are more communist than the old USSR.

    • highpckts

      Buddy,if we truly had an “emperor” and you did live in a communist, police state your big mouth would be sitting in solitary somewhere with no hope of seeing daylight for talking sedition!

      • I’m sure that is coming with the regime we now have. You will not be immune just because you tend to support anti American behavior.

        • highpckts

          Oh my God I feel sorry for you! What’s it like to live with paranoia all the time!! You seriously need meds!!

    • Allan Richardson

      You are lying when you say Obama has apologized for America’s existence. He HAS apologized for some of the things America did under the previous administration which were the WRONG THINGS to do (such as lying about WMDs to go to war in Iraq). A real man, or a real stand-up country, does not apologize for BEING, but DOES apologize for doing WRONG. If you cannot tell the difference, you must believe that America is incapable of doing anything wrong and never did … not the eradication of Native Americans to settle the country, not the war that stole half of Mexico’s territory, not the rush to war after the Maine blew up (which has recently been found to have been caused by a faulty boiler), not the slaughter of workers in the struggle to be represented by unions, not the institution of slavery and its bloody defense, not the abandonment of Europe after the First World War when our diplomacy might have prevented a repeat, etc.

      America has done many great and good things, but as a country of fallible and imperfect human beings, we have done some very nasty things as well. When we realize we have done wrong to someone, a sincere apology for our wrongs is what truly shows GREATNESS, not an arrogant insistence on our own rightness.

      By the way, who pushed for the PATRIOT Act to be passed in a rush to judgement? Who spied on innocent Americans who were trying to make our nation better, such as Martin Luther King, claiming they were Communists? Who broke into the opposing political party’s headquarters to find “dirt” that could defeat them?

      • Again, you really don’t get it, or are too indoctrinated to care. BOTH psarties are corrupt. BOTH parties are self serving and only care abiout getting reelected. BOTH parties want to keep and gain more power. We just happen to have the worst of the worst presently in office now, with a lawless regime, and a POTUS that thinks he is a KING.

        • alwaysthink

          kenndeb you really should seek other sources of info beside the Saudi owned Fox

  • There are enuff Republicans in Congress for Americans to realize there still, since 2010, isn’t yet: fully funded infrastructure (tech & physical), Public Education, adequate job re-training & education, support for legislation (in an economy having moved from ‘Depression’ now, to ‘Recession’) to ensure there won’t be another ‘Depression’ in our lifetime, beginning of the (inevitable) conversion (NOW) to Green Energy, in order to quickly retire dirty & menacing fossil fuels & demanding of voters, to prove to themselves, why they should want to vote this year – or EVER – for Republicans, w/this sort of record, in opposition to the needs, wants & legitimate DEMANDS on it’s government? Government, according to the Constitution, is WE, the PEOPLE & is empowered to do WHAT WE DEMAND OF IT!!! If those office holders have a problem performing to those ends, the PEOPLE have a RESPONSIBILITY to remove & REPLACE THEM immediately. THIS is the imperative THIS election…

    • Whatmeworry

      and with a dem as president and controlling congress you would think that annual budget deficits of $1T a year would have corrected all the issues you bring up. Unfortunately Harry Reid and Barak don’t want to fix anything

      • Allan Richardson

        The Democrats “controlled” Congress, just barely, for a few weeks in 2007, assuming that “control” of the Senate means enough votes to pass something IF it comes to a vote, but not enough to GET it to a vote (60-vote supermajority to break a filibuster). Harry Reid would love to fix the problems, but when the Senate DOES pass something worthwhile, the Tea Party crazies in the House make sure it doesn’t pass; and what the HOUSE passes (50+ repeals of Obamacare, so your insurance company would again have the power to kill you by denying care) are not fixes, they are more PROBLEMS, from the point of view of any reasonable person who cares about ALL Americans.

        • Whatmeworry

          The Dem’s controlled both Houses of Congress from 2007-2010. Harry has more bills languishing in this congress than any Sen Leader in our History

          • Allan Richardson

            They were the bad ones forced on us by the House Republicans.

          • Whatmeworry is Dan M Ketter

            Hmm, all Republicans are bad. Must not read any newspapers where you live

          • Whatmeworry

            I take it your hampered by EISL

  • Whatmeworry

    No one likes trial lawyers. For the dem’s to make him their nominee spelled disaster from the beginning

  • Allan Richardson

    The disconnect between Tea Party beliefs and the facts reminds me of an old joke in a book of Yiddish humor. Two Jewish men were on the train to work in Berlin in the 1920s, when the one who got on last saw his friend reading the Nazi party paper. Shocked, he asked why he was reading it. The reader replied, “when I read the news in our papers, I read about our people being persecuted all over the world, Arabs trying to keep our settlers out of Palestine, pogroms in Russia, restricted hotels and beaches even in America! But here in the Nazi paper, we are running all the banks, all the governments, we are rolling in money and on top of the world! It makes me feel so much better!”

  • Captain Dickson

    One of the defining characteristics of today’s liberalism is the notion that the future can somehow be magically predicted.