This is a few days late in being written, but that’s ok. Sometimes, you write when you can, and right now, I can! 🙂
Unless you are in a foreign country or live totally off the grid, you know Monday night was the first step in the process of picking presidential candidates, the Iowa Caucuses.
And unless you live in a different country or live totally off the grid, you know the Iowa Caucuses were a cluster of epic proportions. As of right now, almost four days later, we have Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg at a statistical tie, with both men claiming victory. For all the hubbub about the caucus, our experience went quite smoothly.
We arrived early to “beat the crowd”. Yeah, right. We have 67 registered Democrats in our township. 14 showed up.
Our precinct captain stood up and gave up the schedule of events, then, we were off! I personally enjoy this type of politicking because it’s personal. You have to be ready to back up your opinion with some facts or at least more information than “he/she is a good candidate”. Iowans demand better than that, even if we are “too white” or “too old” or “too rural”. We take the process seriously, and that’s what I love about our state.
Anyway, there were six people who spoke to their candidate: Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Tom Seyer, Andrew Yang, and Amy Klobuchar. We had the chance to mingle, to hear their views on why they thought their candidate was the best suited for the Democratic nominee, which was a great thing to do. We talked to the Bernie Sanders rep, a very passionate man, who made some great points about Bernie’s electability. When listened in on the “Yang Man” talked to Andrew’s passionate ability to bring people together. And finally, we sat with Elizabeth Warren’s person and listened to her talk about her education plan.
The main reason I like the caucus process is what happened above: it’s about conversations. It’s talking to your neighbors, listening to their views, and finding common ground in a candidate. It’s more personal, which for me, means something more than just walking into a booth and voting.
Sorry, I got sidetracked! We took our first “vote” and in order to be a viable candidate, you had to have four people in your caucus group. We choose Warren because she’s a good mix of progressive ideas and common sense. It was her or Bernie because both are and always have been huge supports of public education, along with wanting to change how healthcare is done in our country. She was the only viable person in our group, meeting the four-person threshold. After our first vote, the rest of the caucus-goers had the chance “realign” (to move to another candidate) or try to talk others over to their candidate. In the end, Warren and Styer earned a delegate, both meeting that threshold.
We were done around 8:30 and home by 9:00 to watch the results (or so we thought). I was up until midnight, hoping that some results would be released, but the Iowa Democratic Party used a new phone app that apparently was built by our middle school coding class, so there were problems. Then, people tried to call in on a hotline, and there were problems with that process as well.
Iowa, I wish I could say I’ll see you in four years, but my guess is, the caucus process as we know it is done. I’ve heard caucuses aren’t for families with small kids, those who are handicapped, those who work the night shift, all of which are valid concerns. I’ve heard Iowa is too white, too old, and too rural to hold this spot as first in the nation. All of which I agree with to a certain degree. I will say, most Iowans who participate are some of the most passionate people about the process I know. They invest the time and energy needs to make sure their decision isn’t just one made on sound bytes but made based on solid knowledge of the candidates, their positions, along with a solid foundation of their own views. Iowans take this first in the nation business very seriously, and to have both the National and Iowa Democrats screw this up is painful to watch.
But, I will say, as we drifted out after our part was done, I did not hear a person say, “Well, I won’t vote for this candidate if they are nominated,” which I found heartening. If we can stick together, we can defeat the Republican president. However, if we don’t, I fear for our country.
As should you.