2020 Election

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Several states are reportedly ditching their Republican primary next year, paving the way for the president’s re-nomination. But Iowa Republicans will still caucus this February.

While most of the attention around the 2020 election is focused on Democrats, Republicans will hold a caucus too. President Donald Trump does face multiple primary challengers, but on the seventh episode of Caucus Land we'll explain why he likely has nothing to worry about in Iowa.


Scott Morgan for NPR

Joe Biden wants voters to look at the big picture.

His campaign is focused on a mission to "restore the soul of this nation."

That's also why the former vice president does not think anyone should get bogged down in the small details he mixes up on the campaign trail.

Women and the Race for the Presidency

Aug 30, 2019
John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

A historic number of women are running for the 2020 Democratic Party nomination. 

On this episode of River to River, Karen Kedrowski, the director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women in Politics at Iowa State University, joins Ben Kieffer to talk about how female candidates are working to stand out from the crowd.

John Pemble/IPR

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has dropped out of the 2020 Democratic presidential race after failing to qualify for the third round of debates.

Gillibrand struggled to boost her polling and fundraising numbers despite her experience in the U.S. House and Senate.

John Pemble/IPR

Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton is calling off his campaign for the presidency. He’s the second major presidential candidate to drop out this week, after Washington Governor Jay Inslee, who bowed out Wednesday night.

The Iowa State Fair has become a must-stop for presidential campaigns ahead of the Caucuses. Candidates eat fried food on a stick and try to chat with voters through the swarm of cameras. We’ll take you through the crowds to see what the fair actually does for wannabe presidents.

John Pemble/IPR file

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has dropped out of the race for the White House. Hickenlooper had been struggling to break through in the crowded field of some two dozen contenders and was unlikely to qualify for the upcoming third round of debates. He ended his campaign amid calls for him to instead run for the U.S. Senate.

Congressman Steve King speaks to the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, Iowa, on August 14, 2019.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Iowa 4th District Rep. Steve King is facing a round of criticism following comments on abortion at a meeting Wednesday with a Des Moines-area conservative group. King asked how many people would be left in the world if abortion in cases of rape or incest was commonplace throughout history.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said by delaying some tariffs in an escalating trade war with China, the Trump administration is acknowledging the pain it’s causing Americans.

“This is going to hurt in our pocketbooks at home,” Buttigieg told reporters after speaking at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair Tuesday.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said 10 percent tariffs on about $300 billion in Chinese imports will go forward, but tariffs on some goods will be delayed until Dec. 15. 

John Pemble/IPR

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper touted his executive experience at a speech at the Iowa State Fair Saturday. Hickenlooper, who also served as mayor of Denver, told an audience of fair attendees and potential Iowa caucus-goers that he has a proven list of accomplishments that other competitors in the crowded field can’t claim.

John Pemble/IPR

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren drew a big crowd to hear her signature message of structural economic reform at the Iowa State Fair Saturday. The attendance at Warren’s stop at the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox surpassed that of the race’s frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden.

John Pemble/IPR

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard touted her foreign policy experience and military service during a visit to the Iowa State Fair on Friday. Speaking to potential caucus-goers and reporters, Gabbard called for an end to the country’s “wasteful wars” which she says are hamstringing federal funding for other policy priorities.

John Pemble / IPR

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s newest plan released Friday morning aims to expand access to healthcare in rural areas. Buttigieg is the latest in a string of Democratic presidential candidates to release policy proposals this week meant to improve rural life.

Some two dozen presidential candidates have been campaigning in Iowa since way before much of the rest of the country tuned in to the race. Many have been coming here for months, some for years. On the fifth episode of Caucus Land, we'll introduce them to you.


Adam Cohn/Flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

Presidential campaign staffers and political activists are facing off in a different kind of competition Saturday – dodgeball. While the event is a matter of Iowa caucus organizing, it’s also about friendship.

The major parties in Iowa generally agree that the caucuses should remain first in the nation and they don't agree on much else. On the fourth episode of Caucus Land, we ask the state's party leaders how they can put aside their differences to keep Iowa first and what the 2018 midterms say about 2020.


Kate Payne/IPR

Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand is taking aim at fossil fuel companies in her new climate plan released Thursday. The New York senator outlined her proposal during a panel discussion at Coe College in Cedar Rapids.

John Pemble/IPR

Democrats running for president have been spending a lot more time this cycle talking to voters in western Iowa, which is predominately Republican and rural. Many of them are visiting that part of the state with J.D. Scholten, a former congressional candidate from their party who almost beat an embattled Republican congressman last year.

“We built something this last cycle and I hope you guys take it further,” Scholten said to a crowd gathered at The Mucky Duck Pub in Ames, Iowa ahead of the first Democratic presidential debate.

Kate Payne/IPR

About a thousand left-leaning Iowans weathered 90 degree temperatures in Cedar Rapids Sunday to hear from ten Democratic presidential candidates at Progress Iowa’s annual Corn Feed event. Each of the presidential hopefuls had about ten minutes to make their case.

Presidential candidates are seemingly everywhere in Iowa: showing up at picnics, union halls and coffee shops, even running in to each other at the farmer's market. Skipping out on the state that's the first to weigh in on the presidential primary process has become politically unthinkable. But that wasn't always the case. In the first episode of Caucus Land, we're going back to the 1960s to see how it all got started.

Kate Payne/IPR

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is highlighting his most recent fundraising blitz as he tours across Iowa this week. Even as recent polling shows support slipping for the Vermont senator, he’s voicing no doubts about his prospects in the first in the nation caucus state.

Penguin Random House

Larry Diamond is a political scientist who has spent decades promoting democracy in dozens of countries around the world. He now feels our country is facing the most serious constitutional crisis since Watergate, and perhaps since the American Civil War.

Ben Kieffer

Lively political conversations over a local brew, it's a Pints and Politics edition of River to River!  Before a live audience at Big Grove Brewery in Iowa City, Ben Kieffer and co-host Erin Jordan of the Gazette ask panelists about President Trump's 2020 re-election bid, the crowded Democratic field of 2020 candidates, candidates vying for Iowa's congressional seats, audience questions, and much more.

Panelists included:

Thomas Hawk/Flickr Creative Commons

Some Democratic presidential candidates are knocking the party for excluding them from debates later this month. The events pose a prime opportunity for lesser-known contenders to build a national profile, standing on the same stage as candidates currently leading in the polls.

Photo by Clay Masters/Iowa Public Radio

President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden exchanged political jabs this week in Iowa. 

On this politics day edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer is joined by political scientists Jim McCormick of Iowa State University and Tim Hagle of the University of Iowa for a closer look at these high profile visits.

They also discuss Iowa ethanol and what it means for the president and other 2020 hopefuls, protests in Hong Kong over extradition laws, and former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean's testimony before Congress.