First, five cities make up the Quad Cities, well at least five, some might even say eight or nine. Apparently, they started as the "Tri-Cities," changed to Quad as the region grew, but "quint" never stuck. Second, split by the Mississippi River, residents move between Illinois and Iowa - sometimes many times a day - crossing the largest river in North America like it's no big deal. Being from Chicago, crossing the Mississippi meant a great adventure ahead, not, "We ran out of peanut better, so I am going to the Super Target." As a result, the little girl in me avoided Iowa to keep a sense of adventure alive. Finally, fall 2015 marked the beginning of primary season for the Iowa caucuses and although I was in Illinois, it's an Iowa media market. This proved to be incredibly painful because I don't travel with my Tivo and for the first time since 2004, I had to watch commercials - and political commercials at that! I started avoiding TV like I avoided Iowa.
I vote in Illinois and I assume that by the time our primary rolls around, my choice for the Democratic candidate will not have much impact. Plus Illinois is an open-primary state, so as an "anybody-but-Trump"-er, I will be pulling a Republican ballot and voting for whoever else is on it.
But this does not stop me from supporting a candidate by volunteering in Iowa. Although I have one or two "favorites," as an "anybody-but" voter, I am not yet convinced he or she is the best candidate to beat Trump in the generals. So, I am going to take advantage of being "Iowa-adjacent" and go to as many town halls, house parties, candidate coffees, etc. within a 2-hour drive and see if I can figure it out.
At the same time, I hope Iowans, with its "first-in-the-nation" pride will be open to a stranger in their midst. But I am looking forward to listening to opinions outside of a Democratically controlled area, like Chicago. Also, I have always been skeptical of our countries primary process, as, much like the electoral college, I think it gives some states undue influence over the process. As a result, I am looking forward to seeing the process up close.
Plans for upcoming events:
- Monday, May 20, Beto O'Rourke, Davenport.
- Sunday, May 26, Sen. Cory Booker, Clinton.
- Monday, May 27, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Burlington.
I will be looking at specific policy issues (promoting responsible budgets; decreasing costs of health care, housing, child care, and education; and promoting campaign finance as a start) as well as "electability" whatever that means.... If you have a specific question you would like me to ask or something to look out for, post it in the comments below.