From the Trail
Written by Bwog Staff
Bwog, having watched the progress of the Iowa caucus from its comfy couch for the last week, decided to check in with a few Columbians spending their vacations stumping the Hawkeye state for their candidates of choice. Considering it’s – 4 degrees outside, you’d have to be insane, or, well…insane. One note: those featured are all working for Democrats. For this, we apologize. If you know any Columbia Republicans slaving away on campaigns, please let us know.
With less than 24 hours to go, Iowa is buzzing! It seems as though the major focus, not just for the Hillary campaign but for all of the campaigns, is to make sure our supporters show up. Only 6% of Iowans caucus and as a result, we are attempting to reach every single supporter either on their door or on their phone before tomorrow at 6:30 to implore them to show up. I have spent a great deal of time over the past week with voters and crossing the state and you can feel the energy–Iowans are excited! What I also find remarkable is the seriousness with which they take their role as the first state and their historic mission of caucusing. Earlier in the week when we were on the doors
attempting to sway the undecided it was apparent that Iowans know their stuff! They follow these campaigns very closely and are more than willing to talk about what they observe. For example, many people, even those who were firmly supporting another candidate, would invite you in to talk politics for 10 minutes, which was very refreshing to hear! As the excitement builds, I am eager and anxious for tomorrow!
Ten days of my vacation spent in Iowa, and of my own volition! Fresh from exams and after a brief detour to Boston, I hopped on a plane to Des Moines to help Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) win the Iowa caucuses, or, more precisely, to help him get a strong finish. Consistently polling at 2% in statewide polls, Dodd is not causing Senators Clinton, Obama, or Edwards to lose much sleep. Nevertheless, the bold policies which Senator Dodd advocates and his principled stances on civil liberties issues convinced me to support his candidacy.
One nice thing about working for a campaign that has no delusions of running the tables on caucus night is that the candidate is more accessible. Upon arriving in Des Moines on Christmas Day, I met up with the campaign at an ice skating event with the Senator and his family. Afterwards, the Dodds invited staffers and volunteers back to their house (they have temporarily relocated to Iowa) for chili and hot chocolate. At the house, I chatted with the Senator about his recent 11-hour filibuster of the FISA bill, which would have granted retroactive immunity to telecom companies that wrongfully disclosed private information.
Since this exciting intro to the Iowa caucuses, I have been canvassing, phone-banking, and staffing the Senator’s events in both Des Moines and Dubuque. Today, the day before the caucus, I canvassed at the home of former Congressman Mike Blouin. This was exciting because he and his family were still unsure whether they would support Senator Dodd or Senator Biden. Experiences like this have
demonstrated just how meticulous and patient a campaign must be to cultivate supporters in the Iowa caucus. The support of a former Congressman can make or break a candidacy in certain parts of the state, and campaigns must work tirelessly to secure important endorsements, even in the last days of the campaign.
Some Columbians were a bit too busy to give Bwog the time of day. The following is a response to our request from an anonymous Obama staffer.
to: Lydia DePillis <[email protected]>
date: Jan 1, 2008 9:27 PM
subject: Re: Bwog dispatch?
BEFORE CAUCUS DAY!
ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND!!!
YES, IT IS -4 DEGREES AND YES I WAS OUTSIDE CANVASSING FOR FIVE HOURS. I NEVER LEAVE THE OFFICE BEFORE 3AM AND I NEVER GET THERE AFTER 9. THERE ARE 12 DIFFERENT PEOPLE ASKING ME WHAT TO DO AND 12 DIFFERENT PEOPLE TELLING ME WHAT TO DO EVERY SECOND. AND NO, MY CAPS LOCK IS NOT BROKEN. I AM SHOUTING.
BEFORE CAUCUS DAY!