On the road to Philly: Jason Brown

On the road to Philly: Jason Brown

Gazette Column
Convention is culmination of yearlong commitment Touring musician Jason Brown is nearing the end of a monthslong political journey, and he knows these last few lengths will be the most challenging and rewarding. Brown, 32, is a longtime Democrat and supporter of Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid. He devoted himself to the campaign “and the People’s Movement it represents” more than a year ago, taking time off from his music and livelihood in hopes of making a difference. “This campaign and movement speaks to my heart and my values like none before,” Brown said. “In my short life, we’ve never had a candidate that goes down the line on progressive issues without compromise; someone like Bernie Sanders that is simply authentic and speaks our language.” At the 1st District Democratic Convention…
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Campaign finance: How much would you pay?

Campaign finance: How much would you pay?

Gazette Column
Many Iowans lucky enough to make it through the highly competitive process of becoming a delegate to their political party’s national convention are still hard at work as they solicit money for the trip. You may have seen the pleas in your social media feeds or heard them firsthand at organizational events throughout the state. Being elected a delegate to the Republican or Democratic national convention is an expensive proposition. Not only do many would-be delegates underwrite the cost of their election campaigns, but each is responsible for taking time off work, writing checks for convention fees and paying all their own travel and lodging expenses. How much does it cost? It varies each year, depending on your political persuasion and the convention location, but always runs in the thousands.…
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Democrats bending under 2016’s reborn PUMA wave

Democrats bending under 2016’s reborn PUMA wave

Gazette Column
The only thing missing from this month’s meeting of the Linn County Democratic Central Committee were PUMA buttons. Although the acronym was officially registered as “People United Means Action,” most remember it as the more colloquial and inflammatory “Party Unity My Ass.” PUMAs were 2008 Democrats who adamantly supported Hillary Clinton, and protested Barack Obama because he “was selected by party leadership and not the people.” Some place, however, there must be a few PUMAs tipping back a pint and laughing — or alternately chewing Alka-Seltzer tablets like candy. Their spirit lives on. PUMAs saw the nomination process as “unfair and biased” and “flawed beyond belief.” Party leaders and the media, they said, were intent on making “the convention into a coronation.” So PUMAs demanded Clinton’s name be placed into…
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Party platform influence is poor concession

Party platform influence is poor concession

Gazette Column
Word is that Democratic officials are hoping to heal the rift between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters. It’s a good goal, even if the action behind the intent points to a questionable start. An agreement allowed Sanders to select five people to serve on the party’s platform committee at the national convention in Philadelphia this July, which is roughly one-third of total membership. Clinton selected six including committee leadership, giving her campaign a controlling interest, and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who leads the Democratic National Committee, named the remaining four. This is a deviation. Previously and typically the DNC head names the entire slate, presumably with the blessing of the presumptive or actual presidential nominee. Since Sanders and his supporters have worried their policy proposals, especially those in…
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