I’m inspired. I’m ready for Hillary Clinton.
For the first time since graduating from college I have been on the sidelines during a presidential campaign. I’ve swapped the high stress, high reward environment of a campaign for the medium stress, huge reward world of helping cancer survivors at Above + Beyond Cancer, an Iowa non-profit.
To be clear, from the start I knew eventually I’d get involved with a campaign as a supporter and volunteer because this election is too important and in Iowa we have a unique opportunity to be an intimate part of history every four years. Yes, I’ve known for a while I’d be knocking doors for someone, but for the first time in my adult life I’ve had the chance to soak in the caucuses, attend events and wait to be inspired by a candidate.
The wait ended on Friday night and I am proud to say I’m all in for Hillary Clinton. I drove up to Clear Lake to see some friends at the annual Wing Ding in Clear Lake, and I left knowing Hillary Clinton needs to be our next President.
For months I was waiting for a candidate to articulate a meaty, progressive policy agenda that would address some of the biggest issues facing our country, like income inequality, climate change and voting rights. I wanted substance and vision, preferably something bold, and Clinton caught my attention in June when she called for automatic voter registration for all Americans at the age of 18 — an issue near and dear to my heart.
Then the Republican debate took place, Donald Trump happened and I was quickly reminded that the Democratic nominee also needs that intangible “it” to win next November. Democrats, myself included, often get so wrapped up in policy nuance that they forget the importance of “it.”
Although I can’t really define “it,” I saw firsthand Hillary Clinton energize an entire room at the Wing Ding, including elderly women wearing Bernie Sanders t-shirts and young men waiving Martin O’Malley signs. In over a decade of attending multi-candidate political events I have never seen a crowd cheer, jump up and down and respond to a single candidate like they did for Clinton on Friday night. Not for Edwards, who I worked for in 2004. Not for Dean, who stole nearly every show in the summer of 2003. Not even for Obama in 2007.
On multiple occasions Hillary Clinton drew standing ovations in support her plans to offer universal access to early childhood education and lower the cost of college tuition. This is more than just delivering a great speech. It’s that intangible, political gift we will appreciate in our nominee in the white-hot political climate of a general election.
There are some who say that Clinton is a polarizing figure, and to them I say I agree. Unfortunately in the breathless, unrelenting partisan world we live in, it is guaranteed that the inevitable nominee for both parties will instantly become the two most polarizing figures in America the minute he or she receives the nomination. So, the question then becomes who is the most capable at managing this highly charged partisan environment? While candidates like Gov. John Kasich repeatedly show flashes of anger with only a flicker of the media glare, Clinton addresses her critics with poise and refuses to get sidetracked by the 24-hour media circus. She can clearly handle the heat.
Lastly, I’ve always believed all campaigns are a reflection of the candidate, and Clinton’s campaign in Iowa has been masterful from the day she announced. The Clinton field team is upbeat, respectfully aggressive and taking nothing for granted. With a double-digit lead they could play not to lose, but instead they are digging deep and working hard to win. That’s what it takes. That’s Hillary Clinton.
Sign me up for some volunteer shifts because I’m ready to get to work.