Two Trumpland Democrats Share Who They Like for 2020
One of the narratives following the 2016 election was Hillary Clinton’s inability to inspire people, even Democrats, to vote for her on Election Day. With the memory of 2016 still on their minds, Iowa Democrats are tasked with deciding which candidate in a crowded field will be the one to inspire not only voters but volunteers as well, to defeat President Trump in 2020. The answer for two Trump territory Democrats might be Elizabeth Warren.
Oskaloosa, Iowa, is a town of just under 12,000 people located 60 miles southeast of Des Moines. It serves as the county seat and largest city of Mahaska County, which ranks 27th out of 99 Iowa counties in terms of population. Mahaska is deep, fire engine red, as reflected by the party affiliation totals in the county. Registered Republicans outnumber registered Democrats almost 7 to 2 in the county, with totals of 7,099 and 2,650 respectively according to data gathered in September 2019 by the Iowa Secretary of State. Predictably, President Trump won Mahaska County with 70.6 percent of the vote in 2016 according to Politico. Two Oskaloosa Democrats, Makennah Little, and Maggie Rand canvassed in Oskaloosa in 2016, and they shared with me their reflections on the last election cycle and why they like Warren.
Maggie Rand is a lifelong Democrat originally from Crookston, Minnesota who now resides in Oskaloosa. Growing up in a Catholicism-dominant community, and being Catholic herself, Rand was predisposed toward the Democratic Party from the start. Makennah Little, on the other hand, grew up in Oskaloosa in a family of conservatives. She said she began to realize she was a Democrat late into middle school and was active in Democratic politics throughout high school.
No matter the political socialization, both women ended up working for their party in Oskaloosa. This was, as they both put it, not always easy. “[In Oskaloosa] it’s easier to hide your political affiliation rather than be ridiculed by it,” stated Rand. Little shared a similar sentiment, stating that she felt like a “closeted Democrat” in her hometown. Both women felt it was still important to canvass in the town, however, because as Little stated, “if I didn’t canvas and support Democrats, then who would?”
Looking forward to 2020, Rand is strongly in the Warren camp while Little is still undecided but leaning toward Warren. Rand said she was sold on Warren as soon as she heard her at a house party in Oskaloosa. “She outlined the things she was going to do in very few words, it made sense,” said Rand. “She’s much different than Bernie Sanders who promises the moon but doesn’t say how he will do it. She has policy ideas and a plan for how to do it.” Rand added that she liked that Warren seemed to genuinely care about her when she shook her hand. For Little, she likes Warren’s stances on debt forgiveness, universal childcare, raising the minimum wage, and a wealth tax. On top of this, Little said she thought Warren was more electable than other similarly progressive candidates, like Bernie Sanders, and electability is something Little is actively seeking in a candidate.
No matter who Democrats choose as their candidate, it will be important for them to inspire voters, as well as campaign volunteers in Trump territory like Rand and Little, to flip states that went for Trump in 2016. Whether that candidate will be Warren or one of the many other Democrats in the race, remains unseen.