Iowa Caucuses

Snowy, somnambulent start to first full day in Des Moines. Rally for Donald Trump yesterday at Drake University was oversold. It’s a whole traveling road show with sweatshirts for supporters that read “Impeach This,” among many slogans that are more crude, and a jumbotron for the overflow crowd.


As for today, Senators Warren and Sanders are due to headline events around Des Moines this evening. We’ll have to see if they make it over here from Washington by then.

Quotes: Ursula Le Guin

I want to thank Mary Hrovat, from whose tremendous blog The Thinking Meat Project I am absconding with this lovely quote from Ursula Le Guin:

“Current-borne, wave-flung, tugged hugely by the whole might of ocean, the jellyfish drifts in the tidal abyss. The light shines through it, and the dark enters it. Borne, flung, tugged from anywhere to anywhere, for in the deep sea there is no compass but nearer and farther, higher and lower, the jellyfish hangs and sways; pulses move slight and quick within it, as the vast diurnal pulses beat in the moon-driven sea. Hanging, swaying, pulsing, the most vulnerable and insubstantial creature, it has for its defense the violence and power of the whole ocean, to which it has entrusted its being, its going, and its will.

But here rise the stubborn continents. The shelves of gravel and the cliffs of rock break from water baldly into air, that dry, terrible outerspace of radiance and instability, where there is no support for life. And now, now the currents mislead and the waves betray, breaking their endless circle, to leap up in loud foam against rock and air, breaking…

What will the creature made all of seadrift do on the dry sand of daylight; what will the mind do, each morning, waking?”

William Butler Yeats’s The Second Coming, written in the aftermath of the First World War, has worked its way into the zeitgeist. As the stampede toward extreme politics accelerates in our own era, Yeats’s words resonate:

“Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;”

In a step back yesterday, it would appear that in Italy, the center-left thwarted a power grab by Matteo Salvini’s anti-immigrant League Party in the northern region of Emilia-Romagna.

Small victories are welcome, too.

Iowa Caucuses

I’ll be heading for Iowa in a week and a half. For years I’ve promised myself that I’d go and have a good, close look at this unique bit of grassroots participatory democracy/great American circus/media frenzy on the tundra, as soon as I could interrupt my work without harm. That time has come.

I’ll be writing about what I find here on CS&W and filing a column @3QD on caucus day. If anyone has any suggestions, anecdotes, or wants to share something you think I should know, or if you’ll be in Des Moines and would like to compare notes (or have a beer), please email me at BillMurrayWriter (at)