Quirks of a Trump Debate Watch Party

Posted: December 16, 2015 | By: Iowa Caucus Project Staff Tagged: Blog

Having the misfortune of missing Donald Trump when he was in Des Moines last week, I attended his campaign’s debate watch Party at Jethro’s BBQ ‘n Bacon Bacon for the fifth Republican debate. I was certainly out of my element, and these are just some of the quirks I noticed throughout the course of the debate.

  • With the exception one other individual who appeared to be in his twenties, I was the only millennial in attendance that seemed to be there voluntarily. These was a mild diversity of ages in attendance, but those who appeared to be 25 or under weren’t enthused by the debate and probably came for the food.
  • Trump’s campaign is working hard to up precinct captains for the caucuses. After getting reminders to sign up during every commercial break, I was almost ready to say yes just to be left alone. This is also after the numerous emails I’ve received from the Trump campaign over the last week making the same request.
  • As the candidates came on stage, I saw one woman mouth the word “Who?” and overheard another say “I completely forgot about him” as Sen. Rand Paul walked on.
  • Don’t even think about clapping for anyone other than Trump. One table clapped for Dr. Ben Carson as he came on the stage and all I saw was nasty glares being sent across the room.
  • The National Anthem. This one baffles me. There was an awkward vibe in the room as everyone was questioning whether or not if they should stand up for the National Anthem. Considering you don’t see too many people stand for the National Anthem when watching a televised football game, it seems the same logical initially applied here. However, everyone reluctantly stood up as a few individuals arose initially. The Jethro’s waitresses made it even more awkward as they continued working and carried drinks from the bar through the room.
  • I couldn’t have been the only one in the room who lost attention to John Kasich’s opening statement as a waitress brought a Bucket of Bacon to a nearby table. Being in a state where hogs outnumber people, the power of bacon shouldn’t be underestimated when dealing with politics.
  • To this crowd, the only person that should be speaking is Trump. It felt as if I was the only one enjoying the Cruz/Rubio exchanges. Jeb Bush also made himself pretty unpopular due to his criticisms of Trump during the debate.
  • The two and a half hours was a bit too long of a debate for this group. Many left early which made room at the tables for the many debate watchers that were forced to stand during the first 90 minutes of spectacle.
  • Perhaps the most surprising, attacks on Hillary Clinton did not receive a large reaction from the Trump crowd. A few would clap or make a comment, but it was in no way equitable to what was heard from the audience in attendance in Las Vegas.

To be honest, I went into this watch party not knowing what to expect, only knowing that I was going to be the odd one out. However, in true Iowa nice fashion, I was pleasantly welcomed by the group at my table and was able to have a constructive conversation with people with opposing political views. It’d be nice if that could happen on the debate stage as well.