Branstad Nomination Gives Democrats a Possible Pickup Opportunity in Iowa

Donald Trump chose Iowa governor Terry Branstad to be his ambassador to China, an offer that Branstad accepted.  The vacancy for Iowa’s chief executive would be filled by Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds until the 2018 election. Branstad – who was already the state’s longest serving governor – was up for reelection, but now Democrats will have the opportunity to run against Reynolds. This would give Democrats an opportunity to win another governorship, in a state Trump won by a slightly larger margin than Texas.

The Democratic Governors Association went through the opposition research on Reynolds and forwarded this Politico story mentioning her as a potential U.S. Senate candidate in 2014. Depending on the political and economic winds in two years, as well as candidate recruitment, this could be a good opportunity for Democrats to get a win.

Fidel Castro Dead at 90

I was at the David Gray concert in Los Angeles last night thinking it would be a nice, relaxing Thanksgiving weekend when Raul Castro dropped a bombshell and announced to the world that his brother, Fidel Castro, had died. Though this has nothing to do with the Democratic Party’s rebuilding efforts or the results of the election, it is still a momentous event that must be acknowledged.

Fidel Castro was one of the last remaining icons of the Cold War. (As Blogs of War put it, “Last member of the original Cold War cast bows out.”) Only a handful of people of that stature from both sides of the conflict are still alive, most of them from the latter years of the Cold War which ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991: Mikhail Gorbachev, George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Stansfield Turner, Brent Scowcroft, Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, William Webster, Robert Gates, John Major, Helmut Kohl, Helmut Schmidt, Lech Walesa and Daniel Ortega.  (Feel free to contact/correct me if I forgot anyone else who should be on that list.) Castro was – for better and for worse – one of the most influential people of the 20th Century.   Read the Miami Herald obituary for more information and context.

Here is a sampling of responses and official statements from political figures in the United States and around the world: