All the political analysts are quick to note that the incomplete results in the Iowa caucuses cast serious doubt about the strength of the Joe Biden campaign. Yet I submit they show much more — that none of the “leading” candidates would be strong contenders in the general election. At present, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg has over 26% of the delegates.

I believe that many Democrats wish that sexual orientation were not relevant. However, there is a huge contingent in the U.S. (in both parties) that would never vote for a gay president of the United States. The fact that so many voted for him shows a distaste for the others — Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren for trying to win on a platform of revolution, and Biden (perhaps) because he is too old and has many questionable actions and votes in his past. The mere fact that Buttigieg, rather than someone else, has become the champion of moderation is astounding. Michael Bloomberg entered the race because he could see that none of the leading Democratic candidates can defeat President Donald Trump.

I agree with that assessment.

Edward J. Schwartzbauer, Edina

IMPEACHMENT

The result matters less than the process. And it wasn’t followed here.

Regardless of whether or not a president is convicted during an impeachment process, the American people should be concerned about what happens during that process. President Donald Trump’s impeachment and the final vote were demonstrative of the fact that this whole action was managed with politics in mind and was not done according to our Constitution (“Acquitted,” front page, Feb. 6). Even the final votes were all by party line with one exception, and this is representative of how the whole process was handled by both parties.

At the start of the trial phase, the senators all took an oath stating they would “do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help me God.” Prior to and during the trial, ignoring that oath, many of the senators publicly stated how they planned to vote. Testimony by viable witnesses should have been a part of both the House and the Senate processes, particularly during the trial phase, yet both parties belligerently stood their ground for political reasons. I excuse the House managers and the president’s trial attorneys for their testimony because good representation requires the full effort of those presenting their case, but I do not feel that true justice was done because both parties had predetermined conclusions.

In the only two prior presidential impeachment processes, both parties came forward in the end and appeared to vote based upon the testimony presented. That did not happen this time. This process was a shame from the beginning, and both sides are to blame. If our elected officials cannot act in accordance with the oath they have taken, I wonder if they can be trusted to perform the duties of their office.

Mark Anderson, Ramsey

• • •

I had to chuckle as I picked up the Star Tribune off the driveway today and saw the large print headline on the front page notifying us all that No. 45 was acquitted.

That’s like a feature on winter that has a banner pronouncing “COLD!”

This unfortunate forgone conclusion to a legitimate congressional investigation into Trump’s abuse of his office was foretold countless times by Republican senators willingly oblivious to the damage to our country that No. 45 continues to inflict. Their spineless votes to acquit this abomination of a U.S. president will be remembered for what they are — cowardly decisions to preserve their standing.

Never thought Sen. Mitt Romney would be a (my) hero, but his defense of his vote to convict will stand as one of the finest speeches ever to grace the Senate chamber.

Joe Carr, Eden Prairie

CBD IN SCHOOLS

No need for federal nervousness

The Star Tribune editorial “CBD doesn’t belong in Minnesota schools” (Jan. 31) mischaracterizes two significant issues and is an example of the unwarranted nervousness about cannabidiol that prevails.

There’s only a slight nod to the CBD statute that was passed in 2019. That law went into effect on Jan. 1, and it legalizes hemp-derived CBD oils for human consumption (Minnesota Statute 151.72). It also requires testing for manufacturing integrity and labeling regulations to provide clear quality and content assurances.

By ignoring these points, the article insinuates these CBD products will make you high: “Much more fuzzy is the legality of over-the-counter CBD products, which contain a different active ingredient found in the hemp plant and contain less than 0.3% THC, the compound that makes marijuana users feel high.” CBD is not marijuana, and at these levels the legal THC content does not make users feel high.

The legality is not fuzzy here. Minnesota law is specific. What is fuzzy is the interplay between state and federal regulations. CBD products such as edibles, lotions and supplements are not legal because the Federal Drug Administration has primary jurisdiction and has not issued regulations.

Parents are right to fight on this issue. As long as CBD-producing companies comply with the law, Minnesota’s schoolchildren should be able to take their CBD oil. The Minnesota School Board Association should join forces and work with these parents to demand approval from the FDA.

Susan Burns, Minneapolis

TAXES

We’re not Florida. But we can act.

John Phelan’s opinion piece “Migration out of our state has begun again” (Feb. 3) rings true. But Minnesota will never compete against Florida’s zero income tax. Even if we cut out income tax, it still doesn’t compete with “zero.”

I can name dozens of acquaintances who have trooped to Florida. Their characteristics are all similar: very high income and net worth, almost all live in Minnesota in the summer, they have the luxury to fly back for holidays and birthdays, all are over 65. Note that these rich snowbirds don’t go to Mississippi, Alabama or Texas where state taxes are lower but not zero like Florida.

These rich snowbirds are a boon to Florida. They buy their Mercedes, their yachts and golf club memberships, producing large sales taxes. Better yet, they incur no education costs and no Medicaid, and their Social Security and Medicare follow them.

So what can be done to stop the out-migration? First, accept the fact that Minnesota does not have the flood of tourists who pay Florida sales and excise taxes (the car rental taxes are huge), and winters cost money.

Second, instate a higher property tax on people who don’t live in their home for six months.

Third, replace the tax on Social Security income with a tax on nail salons (trim your own nails, for goodness sake!), coffee shops (if you can pay $4, you can afford a 40-cent tax) and fitness clubs (go for a walk/run).

Robert Bonine, Mendota Heights

GARBAGE

Time to cut the (plastic) cord

If you aren’t convinced that plastic bags should be banned, take a stroll along the Mississippi this spring. What you will see, what you will not miss, are hundreds of plastic bags hanging from trees and bushes along the shore. What you won’t see are the thousands of plastic bags from Minnesota that are floating around in the oceans, the ones that weren’t snagged by branches along the way. Of the hundreds of thousands of plastic bags we consume here, most end up in landfills but many — too many — escape. Let’s just ban them and be done with it.

Joe Cain, Minnetonka

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