Andy McKean announces his intention to change his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat at a news conference Tuesday
Katarina Sostaric / IPR
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The longest serving Republican in the Iowa House announced Tuesday he would change his party affiliation and join the minority Democratic cacus. State Representative Andy McKean of Anamosa cited increasing discomfort with the GOP's agenda and his inability to support President Trump's re-election bid in 2020. The defection shrinks the Republican majority in the chamber.
Jeff Kaufmann, chair of the Republican Party of Iowa called McKean's actions disappointing and deceptive. On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks about what this means for the Iowa GOP, and other political developments of the week.
Dennis Goldford, Professor of political science at Drake University
Rachel Paine Caufield, Professor of political science at Drake University.
Jane Mayer in Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right (2016) traces Joni Ernst's accession to the US Senate. She write that three of the newly elected Republicans who joined the Senate in 2014 had also attended the secret Koch meetings in June, where they, too, had gushed over their sponsors. The leaked tapes [YouTube] of the event caught Joni Ernst, who had previously been, by her own account, a “little-known state senator from a very rural part of Iowa,” crediting the Kochs with transforming her, like Eliza Doolittle, into a national star. “Exposure to this group and to this network [the Kochtopus] and the opportunity to meet so many of you,” she said, were what “really started my trajectory.”
Another funder of Ernst's “trajectory,” was/is The National Rifle Association (ARA) headed by Wayne LaPierre. He too and his organization were members of the Koch network or what Mayer deems “the Kochtopus.”
Ronald P. Formisano in The Tea Party: A Brief History (2012) documents that the Kochs' relative invisibility as political activists and ideological warriors came to an end, however, when with an investigative essay by Jane Mayer in the New Yorker issue of august 30, 2010. “Indeed,” wrote Mayer, “the brothers have funded opposition campaigns against so many Obama Administration policies—from heal-care reform to the economic-stimulus program—that, in political circles, their ideological network is known as the Kochtopus.”
This naming did not shame either the Kochs or the Senator.
However, after so many school massacres Ernst tried to distance herself from her ARA benefactor.
Iowa’s congressional leaders respond to ‘accepting’ NRA money
Madeleine Neal, firstname.lastname@example.org March 19, 2018 Filed under Politics
WASHINGTON — Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Rep. David Young, R-Iowa, have responded to claims that they are two of the highest National Rifle Association-supported members of the U.S. Congress by making one thing clear: They both said the claims are false.
“No, I have not received [money from the NRA],” Ernst said. “We need to make that really clear, because folks like The Des Moines Register have run away with this saying I have received $3 million — I have not received $3 million.”
Ernst was referring to a Feb. 19 article in the Register that cited a New York Timesopinion piece contending that Ernst ranked seventh among senators in donations from the NRA at more than $3 million. The article also said Young is the third highest in NRA funding in the House of Representatives.
The Times article, which was published in October 2017, only days after a deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas, resurfaced after the Feb. 14 shooting at Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida, which claimed 17 lives.
Young said outside groups such as the NRA act on “their own free will.”
“They get involved in advocating for or against candidates, and I can’t control, nor can any member of Congress control, what they do,” Young said. “If you did, that would be coordination, and those communications would be illegal, and I’m going to abide by the law.”
Young said when it comes to his campaign, he wants to be in control of his image and message.
“I get quite bothered when those outside groups get involved, if they’re for or against you,” he said.
Ernst also acknowledged that the NRA has made donations from PACs, which, she said were small in scale and were regulated by federal law.
“It’s no different than any other campaign out there, so please make that clear,” she said.
Ernst emphasized that she has no control over NRA-funded political advertisements.
“The way people like to make it sound is, ‘Oh, we have just given Joni Ernst $3 million to do whatever she wants with’ — that is absolutely false,” she said.
Young said he has what he calls formal, simple, commonsense rules when it comes to fundraising on his own: “Solicit legally, accept legally, and no quid pro quo.”
While denying contentions that she receives NRA money, Ernst noted that she supports the Second Amendment.
“I was a member of the NRA just as private citizen, before the NRA had any idea who little Joni Ernst from Montgomery County was,” she said. “You know, I was a member, and I don’t back away from that, because I do believe that our citizens have the right to defend themselves.”
Iowa has been out of political balance since Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat, retired. We should not have two Republican Senators, especially as John Nichols in Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse states, those who “put politics ahead of their constitutionally defined duty to provide advice and consent regarding judicial nominations.” This was done with both Chuck Grassley, Iowa's Senior Senator, as Senate Judiciary Committee Chair; and with Joni Ernst, Iowa's Junior Senator who took Harkin's seat.
Senator Joni Ernst, although a retired Lt. Cornel in the Iowa National Guard, by her silence in the Blasey-Ford testimony branded herself a duplicitous cowardly opportunist like the President himself. While in college, Ernst was a victim of sexual assault, yet she showed no empathy for Christine Blasey-Ford, preferring to remain in Trump's good graces—and allow Bret Kavanagh a life-time appointment on the Supreme Court. Ernst's duplicity was exposed when her divorce proceeding were unsealed.
Joni Ernst: Other witnesses contradict Ford's allegation of sexual assault
WASHINGTON — Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said Thursday that it will be difficult to sort through the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Ernst said she watched most of Christine Blasey Ford’s opening statement, in which Ford detailed her claim that Kavanaugh drunkenly attacked her at a high school party when they were both teenagers.
Kavanaugh has denied Ford’s allegations, as well as claims by two other women of additional misconduct. Both Ford and Kavanaugh testified Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“I have no doubt that at some point she experienced some sort of traumatic event,” Ernst told reporters on a conference call after Ford’s opening statement.
But Ernst added that other potential witnesses have provided statements that run counter to Ford’s claims.
“What we are looking for is the information that is coming forward and then has it been corroborated,” Ernst said.
Ernst had said she planned to watch some of Thursday’s testimony in person but will be reviewing all of the information later.
“It’s good testimony. I’m glad that she is here, and it’s important that we hear from her,” Ernst said. “However, the other statements provided by those witnesses have contradicted what she is stating this morning. So we’ll have to sort through this.”
Ernst, who has worked on tackling sexual assault in the military, said she doesn’t want to dissuade survivors from coming forward and telling their stories.
Ford has worked in the academic and private sector as a biostatistician and research psychologist. Since 1998, she has worked as a research psychologist and biostatistician in the Stanford School of Medicine psychiatry department. Since 2011, she has been a psychology professor in the Stanford-PGSP Consortium for Clinical Psychology, a collaborative program between Palo Alto University and Stanford.
Ford teaches subjects including psychometrics, study methodologies, clinical trials, and statistics to doctoral students and serves on dissertation committees. She has also performed consulting work for multiple pharmaceutical companies. She formerly worked as a director of biostatistics at Corcept Therapeutics, and as a biostatistical consultant for Titan Phamaceuticals, and Brain Resource. She has collaborated with FDA, academic and industry statisticians, including leading roundtable discussions at the American Statistical Association’s Annual FDA-Industry meetings that focus on statistical analyses in industry-FDA interactions. She is widely published within her field.
Ford "specializes in designing statistical models for research projects in order to make sure they come to accurate conclusions," as summarized by Helena Chmura Kraemer, a Stanford professor emeritus in biostatistics who co-authored a book and several articles with Ford. Ford has written or co-written several books about psychological topics, including depression. Her other research topics published in academic journal articles have included child abuse and the September 11 attacks. In 2015, she co-authored a book entitled How Many Subjects? Statistical Power Analysis in Research. Her research into the social impact of hiding one's sexual orientation was published in 2016 in the journal Behavior Therapy, and reviewed by psychologist William Gibson of the American Psychological Association, who found their research "demonstrates that issues of identity have relevance to mental health outcomes in ways that much of previous work misses."
Since coming forward with allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh, Ford has been unable to resume her teaching at Palo Alto University.
On September 18, Ford's attorneys sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley requesting that the FBI investigate the incident before the Senate holds a hearing on Ford's allegations to "ensure that the crucial facts and witnesses in this matter are assessed in a non-partisan manner, and that the Committee is fully informed before conducting any hearing or making any decisions." The letter additionally noted the significant public support Ford had received, but also severe harassment including death threats, forcing her to leave her home. The same day, a crowdfunding campaign was created to defray Ford's security costs, surpassing its $100,000 goal in less than 24 hours.
On September 21, President Trump tweeted about Ford, saying that if Ford's allegations were true, either she or her parents would have reported them at the time of the event.Fortune called the tweet an attempt "to undermine her allegation" and Republican Senator Susan Collins—considered a key swing vote on Kavanaugh's nomination—said she is "appalled" by Trump's tweet, calling it "inappropriate and wrong". Trump's statements about Ford prompted sexual assault victims to start Tweeting using the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport to share reasons for silence. Trump issued several more statements, including a tweet alleging that Kavanaugh was "under assault by radical left wing politicians".
Ford has received considerable backlash for coming forward with her allegations against Kavanaugh, facing a number of threats that include death threats. During her testimony, Ford stated, "I have been called the most vile and hateful names imaginable. People have posted my personal information on the internet. This has resulted in additional emails, calls, and threats. My family and I were forced to move out of our home". Despite the confirmation of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, these threats have not stopped.As of November 2018, Ford stated that she is still being harassed and threatened and has had to move four times as well as hire private security. Subsequently, she has not been able to resume her teaching at Palo Alto University.
BATTLE FOR THE SOUL OF THE US SENATE 2020: HER HAT IS IN THE RING AGAIN--HOPEFULLY
Democratic Women and Independents, and even WOKE Republican women, can make a difference in this battle for the soul of the U.S. Senate. They are the Deborahs and Jaels (Judges 4) of the electorate. We must lead the battle and hammer the “tent pin” into Ernst's reelection. This hammering was done Midterm: White-Suburban-college-educated-women realized that Blasey-Ford was telling their story—and changed the House of Representatives.