In less than 48 hours, many of us will be standing in somebody’s corner, waiting to be counted. Here in Fremont, Mahaska County, I’m Precinct Captain for Senator Bernie Sanders, and I’m anxious to see who will really turn out Monday night. With a snowstorm looming, hopefully many still show up, and the snowflakes wait until everyone is safely back home.
There has been so much excitement in the early part of the election; it is no surprise to me that Iowa has captured the nation’s attention once again. As the Iowa Caucus nears, we are all being inundated with political phone calls, flyers, and canvassers. I’m also one who takes on volunteer campaigning. I’ve been bugging my neighbors, and pretty much anyone that crosses my path in these past months. With each phone call and encounter, it’s another chance to get someone excited about the upcoming election, no matter who they support.
As a Bernie supporter, I make connections with people that cross parties. We are a community, and for the most part I have great conversations no matter similarities or differences in our opinions. Of course, there have been some incredible hostile moments, but those are limited to online social media exchanges. I have always kept in kindness despite being called names, threatened, unfriended, and having death wishes put upon me. At this point, at work, or out publicly, I don’t even have to say a word but someone will call me out, bringing up politics knowing that I will engage. There is a certain amount of vulnerability that goes with wearing your politics on your sleeve, as so many Bernie supporters do, but his message is worth sharing.
Senator Hilary Clinton’s campaign does have a presence, but I don’t hear people talking about her like I do Senator Sanders. When I do, it certainly isn’t the same kind of dialogue. It seems most in my area are either supporting Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump, a few in-betweens, and undecideds, but that’s just the word on the street, really, nothing more.
Recently I have had a phone call that captured my attention, it was Senators Clinton’s campaign, but it was an automated telephone recording. One of those robo calls! I listened as the friendly voice that said “If you are caucusing for Hilary Clinton because of women’s rights and equality, PUSH 1. And then it went through a series of “If you are caucusing for Hilary because of such and such…PRESS 2 and so on.” Well, I listened to all the options waiting for the option, NO; I’m NOT caucusing for Hillary Clinton. That option never came! It was an endless loop with no option out, so I just hung up, assuming pressing nothing was my saying NOT caucusing for her. Well, I didn’t think too much about it, until this past Thursday, when I received another robo call from her campaign. The call started out with, “Thank you for your recent support and joining with 86% of your neighbors who will also be caucusing for Hillary Clinton!” Well it then went into the importance of showing up at caucus night but had no options to participate in the recorded call. I never once agreed to caucus for Hillary, at any point in time and I know the majority of my neighbors aren’t caucusing for her either. It seems very misleading, if you ask me. As a phone banker for Senator Sanders, accuracy and real interactions are kept in high regard. I can only imagine that her number of supporters is completely off at this time. The only interaction I have had with the Clinton campaign this election consists of paid staff, and robo calls. She says she has a grassroots campaign going, but I’m unsure where all these volunteers are at.
It will be interesting to see where people really stand in Iowa on Monday night. As Precinct Captain for Bernie, I am ready, and just picked up my box of decorations, and information. I’ve been preparing for the day, and even received some caucus training for Iowa’s big night. I also plan on bringing up Governing Under the Influences current resolution that the Iowa Democratic Party call for the Elimination of the U.S. Immigrant Detention Quota Mandate. It is an issue that needs more attention, and I along with many others believe that the mandate to detain 34,000 immigrants per day needs to come to an end. There are less expensive and more humane ways to deal with those facing due process. I am hoping that many in my own local precinct will also agree that this quota is unjust, and based on numbers and profit rather than the public good. Up until the caucus begins, I will be busy volunteering my hours away for Bernie, the campaign, and our people.