Iowa Crisis Part 3: The Big Game in Iowa Isn’t About Football

Take a shot every time someone makes a caucus/Super Bowl reference. 

Okay, so we’re beginning to wind down the saga that was the 2020 Iowa Caucus, and that brings us to our shortest and least demanding day of the trip. 

Most Americans saw the day as Super Bowl Sunday. They spent the day preparing their game-day snacks, they cheered for their team, and they witnessed an amazing half-time performance by JLo and Shakira. While we also participated in these Big Game traditions, we were among the small population of Americans that saw this particular Sunday as their last chance for validation. Candidates held events and rallies, organized last-minute canvasses, and tried to connect to as many Iowans as possible. 

‘Twas the night before The Caucus and no one was silent. 

We began that morning at a slow pace, casually filling up the breakfast area in the lobby of our hotel and compiling our notes and videos from the wild day before. Our first appointment of the day was a Pete Buttigieg event in Des Moines at a local high school. With another rally for Biden and an event hosted by Amy Klobuchar to end our day, we were going to finish up our whirlwind tour of major candidate events just in time for Caucus Day. 

Before heading to see the former Mayor of South Bend we stopped at a local Iowan staple: Taco John’s. Slowly but surely making our way through random Midwestern fast-food chains. When we got to the venue there was already a sizeable crowd considering the event didn’t start for another hour. But besides the amount of Pete supporters, the first thing we noticed was the large tractor painted red, white and blue, adorned with “TRUMP” and “Make America Great Again” flags. This was the first physical opposition to a Democratic candidate we saw from any Trump supporters at an event. Could it be because of Pete’s surprisingly high popularity in Iowa, or conservatives expressing their opinions on “traditional values” and opposing Pete for being gay? 

I personally never sought to find the answers to those questions because while we were there to be unbiased researchers, my ability to argue with stupid was at an all-time low.

The event for Mayor Pete was exciting and the air of the supporters matched that of Elizabeth Warren’s event the evening before, filled with passion for their candidate and hope for the future.

IMG_6714
*Up Around The Bend by Creedence Clearwater Revival plays in the background* | PC: Allison Smith

We left the high school to travel across town to a Boys and Girls Club where Joe Biden was speaking for one of his final events before Monday. Let’s just say we went, we saw, we left after 10 minutes. A few of us were able to get into the small space and catch a glimpse of the setup and crowd. But with organizers that just couldn’t seem to be helpful if they tried, we decided it was time to leave. Plus we were hungry anyway. 

IMG_9967
*Walks into hotel lobby full of Biden volunteers* Do you support Biden? No.

Our final stop of the night was a Super Bowl Party hosted by the Amy Klobuchar campaign at a local Jethro’s BBQ. (Another stop on our food tour of Iowa) We were grateful we RSVP’d for the event because more than 300 people ended up at the restaurant both to listen to the Minnesota Senator and to watch some football. Amy was originally supposed to speak at halftime but because of the impeachment trial still alive in DC, she made some opening remarks about her reason for her candidacy and left after a quick speech. While her presence was short-lived, we were able to enjoy the rest of the night comfortably as her campaign had started a tab to pay for everyone’s beer and food until the game ended. Shout out to Amy! 

IMG_1435
Thanks for the beer, Amy! | PC: Taylor Doggett

This is where the title of the post comes into play because between her speech and the rest of the evening, the Iowa Caucus was compared to the Super Bowl about 10-12 times. Hence the “drinking game.” A writer for Time Magazine overheard my little game and seemed relieved to see a little humor amidst the tensions of voting. She ended up coming over and interviewing me about my thoughts on candidates and the caucus as a whole!

IMG_6735
My sense of humor is going to make me famous. (And maybe my political opinions, too)

After exhausting our attempts at finishing the 32oz mason jar beer specials, we retreated back to our home (Fairfield Inn & Suites Urbandale) and bonded in the lobby over our anticipation for the day ahead. We ended up having a Mockus (mock-caucus) where we each cast votes for candidates and determined who was viable in our own “precinct.” I think Jared at the front desk thought we were super nerdy but still enjoyed our commentary. 

We attempted to end the night early because of the undoubtedly long day we would have on caucus night and went to bed ready to experience a 70-year tradition in primary voting. Who knew it might be the last of the long tradition?

To keep you going this week until the next and final installment of the 2020 Iowa Crisis, here is my playlist for February where I tried to include some of my favorite songs from each candidate’s pre-event playlists!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s