It is caucus day! Yay! I honestly thought it would never get here. But even more so, I never thought I would want it to get here. My experience with the campaigning has been way different than I expected. I, of course, went to my fair share of political events: debate watch parties, the Black and Brown Forum, political discussion panels. But comparatively I went to nothing. Some of my peers were at every Des Moines debate, town hall, and mock caucus. I legitimately feel like I was a slacker in the democratic process.
In the lead up to caucus campaign season, I assumed I would be at every event I had access to. Rallies, stump speeches, on both sides of the aisle. But I never did. When I figured out that you caucus by party, I never bothered with the Republican candidates. I literally went into the building where a Rand Paul event was being held on my campus and turned around and left because the line was too long. But, to be fair, I did that for a Hillary Clinton event too. My fellow journalism students have been interning and working for CNN, CBS, Iowa Public Radio, NPR, and I am sure so many other media outlets. And while writing for the Des Moines Register is a big deal, it is less visible and provides for fewer celebrity selfies. I can freely admit to being jealous of my peers who have met Anderson Cooper, or Ben and Jerry but I am not up in arms about it.
For me, real life happened despite Iowa’s current spotlight. Having all three Democratic presidential candidates on your campus three times is really cool. Except that it screws with your parking and you still have to get to and from work. I never thought I would get to see Trump supporters in real life, but weaving through them on your way to class is a bit terrifying. I have been lucky to be at Drake during this entire crazy caucus season. But sadly I missed every non-politician famous person who has been here because of it: Caitlyn Jenner, Nev Schulman, Donald Trump.
I by no means distanced myself from the politics happening around me, but I could have been more engrossed. Right now, I do not have any regrets about how I have participated in campaign events but I am sure that by tonight I will have some things I wish I had done differently. But it is impossible to do it all.
If I am still in Iowa in four years, I am confident I will be all up in the caucus craziness once again. But for now, I am excited to be a part of my community and make my voice heard at my local precinct. My first experience in Iowa during the caucus campaign season has turned out differently than I expected, down to the candidate I am going to caucus for this evening. But caucuses are known for their surprises…