The Iowa Caucus: A Clumsy Celebration of Democracy

Anticipation mounts among caucus-goers as Chair Wolfe opens the Clinton First Precinct Caucus. Photo: Sam Buisman

Author: Sam Buisman

Iowa led the nation in choosing the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate on Feb. 3, with the Iowa Caucuses. In this almost mythical event, Iowans take to gymnasiums, classrooms, libraries and all other sorts of public gathering places to vote with their feet for their preferred primary candidate. 

While every state holds a presidential primary election, the Iowa Caucuses’ primacy makes them perhaps the most important.

Andrew Yang Prescient Captain Adam Lewis tries to persuade Elizabeth Cronin to vote for Yang. Photo: Max Donovan
Chair Wolfe quiets caucus-goers with an undeniable attention-getter. Photo: Sam Buisman

Despite the fact that many 2020 presidential candidates have been campaigning for over a year, Iowa is the first state to give us some actual results as to which candidate voters prefer.

Performing well in Iowa can give a candidate enough momentum in later primaries to go on and clinch the nomination, or deflate them to the point that it ends their campaign.

In fact, in the last six out of eight Democratic primaries, the candidate who won Iowa went on to receive the party’s nomination. Additionally, former President Barack Obama’s 2008 Iowa caucus victory is credited with propelling him to victory over Hilliary Clinton, who was considered the frontrunner. 

The caucus was held on the second floor of the Clinton Public Library. Photo: Sam Buisman

Long story short, the Iowa Caucuses are really important. So, we had to be there.

This story originally aired on our Feb. 9 broadcast. Listen above.

A panorama shot of the caucus in full swing. Photo: Max Donovan.