Dear Abby’s Advice on the Iowa Caucus
Dear Abby: Help! The Iowa caucuses are coming up, and I can’t decide who I like! Usually, I know by Halloween and here it is Christmas, and I am still not in love with one candidate yet. And this time it’s so important, it’s like, the election for America’s soul… You know what I mean?
I’ve seen 20 of the candidates — including nine who already dropped out! I spent six months doing this, drove 765 miles, burned through 20 tanks of gas, and I know all their visions for the future. I have four “favorites” — Mayor Pete is such a policy dork, I love it and Warren — Persist! Both are great — for very different reasons — but I also don’t understand why more people aren’t paying attention to Klobuchar and Booker, who are both super smart (and funny). In a typical election, liking four would be an embarrassment of riches, but since this one is so important, I am frustrated. I know I’m not the only one who can’t choose.
Do I have to abandon the hope of falling in love with a candidate? (Miss you Obama!) I usually volunteer for my favorite candidate in January and can’t even do that because I cannot pick one. How do I choose?
- FRUSTRATED IN THE MIDWEST
Dear Frustrated: No, you are not alone, I think most of us are overwhelmed with 20-some candidates to choose from. Just take a deep breath and remember three things.
First, they can’t all be Obama. And in 2016… well, those two were apples and oranges, so it was easy to make a decision. It sounds like you have been speed dating the candidates so far — which is not a bad way to narrow down the choices. Instead of focusing on not being able to pick one, congratulate yourself for recognizing that the other 23 are not for you!
Second, you said you want to volunteer. Is there some rule that you can only volunteer for one candidate? If you like four, spend a week with each one, or pick two you are most interested in learning more about, or maybe the one that needs the most help? You can find out a lot about a person when you go beyond the “speed date” and get to know them in a different setting.
Third, it’s just the Iowa caucus, not the rest of your life. You may be first in the nation, but there are more than 49 to go (don’t forget the territories)! Plus, it’s a caucus, not a primary, you can choose one and if they don’t pass the 15 percent threshold, you can go to your second choice, and even the third! The polls suggest that Sen. Sanders, Sen. Warren, Mayor Buttigieg, and former VP Biden will pass the threshold on the first round, leaving the others to capture the last 18 percent. So, caucus with Sen. Booker and Sen. Klobuchar as long as you can to make sure they get a delegate.
Hang tight, only 11 more months to go to the generals!
Based on this advice, I will be spending January making calls for Booker and Klobuchar. If you have never phone banked before, it’s super easy, the campaign gives you a script, they have a web-based program that dials the numbers for you, so all you need is an internet connection. Before the 2016 election, I spent one afternoon riding in a car across Illinois, making calls to Pennsylvania, using my laptop and my phone’s hotspot!
If you are like “Frustrated in Iowa” and think this election feels like it’s about our country’s soul, contact the local offices of one (or two) candidates who you interest you and help them out in the primaries.
Originally posted on Medium.com
Includes professional topics, as well as thoughts about politics. I also keep a blog on Medium that includes these, as well as more personal posts.