Living in Society

Big Grove Political Update

Burning Brush, Nov. 8, 2019

Since signing a caucus commitment card for Elizabeth Warren on Sept. 15, all campaign activity increased in the state’s most Democratic county.

Traveling to Des Moines for the Nov. 1 Iowa Democratic Party Liberty and Justice Celebration was beyond the ken of my life in Big Grove. The event did kick off a final phase of the race to the Feb. 3, 2020 Iowa caucuses — campaigns are getting more serious because it’s now or never.

I favor doing well in the general election over a caucus victory for Warren. After all, there are 49 other states plus territories to weigh in by next summer’s Democratic National convention. Super Tuesday looms just ahead of the caucus when a quarter of the delegates will be selected. As the likely temporary chair of my caucus, it is important to be equitable in approach to candidates, keeping an eye on the bigger picture. The long haul to the general election is what matters most on Feb. 3.

Big Grove precinct went for Obama in the 2008 general election, and then for him again (just barely) in 2012. In 2016 Trump was a favorite here, winning by 54 votes. With effort, Big Grove precinct can swing back to support the Democratic presidential nominee and hopefully down-ticket candidates like U.S. Senator and U.S. Representative as well. There are primaries in both federal races which will garner more attention after Feb. 3.

The initial canvass of my precinct began. The first people contacted either don’t know for whom they will caucus or support Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. Klobuchar would be my second choice. There was also a lone, vociferous Biden supporter.

I attended the county central committee meeting on Thursday and was surprised to see an organizer for Senator Michael Bennet still pitching his campaign. While there is surge capacity among campaigns, if a candidate doesn’t already poll at five percent or more, it is difficult to see their path to winning the Iowa caucus, let alone winning the nomination. Pete Buttigieg is arguably the only candidate who thus far surged to rank in the top tier of Democratic candidates. I’m just saying if candidates are not registering among voters there is no path to the nomination.

I’m also thinking of John Edwards who placed second in the 2008 Iowa caucuses but hadn’t built adequate campaign structure in South Carolina and Nevada. He couldn’t compete in Super Tuesday states. This cycle’s March 3 Super Tuesday may not decide the nominee, but it’s hard to see how candidates who go all-in in Iowa to get a ticket out, like Castro and Harris, can ramp up quickly enough to gain momentum by Super Tuesday. Anything is possible, but is it realistic?

I’ve been under the weather for several days, focused on getting better. My walk list rests on the steps waiting for healing. I worked outside during my shift at the home, farm and auto supply store and burned brush yesterday. Outdoors work has been needed time for reflection and healing.

Kale continues to grow despite overnight temperatures in the 20s. I brought it inside, cleaned it, and added some to a pot of soup. For lunch I plan kale and black bean tacos with chili sauce from New Mexico peppers. I’ll soon return to a hundred percent, ready to continue the canvass, and return to work toward the general election. Politics isn’t everything in my life. It is something.