East Coast Observations
Over the past two weeks, I was able to spend an extensive amount of time on the East Coast. It was a bit of a back-and-forth trip as I spent five days in New York, three in Des Moines for classes, and four in Boston. I went to, and experienced, all the tourist attractions, including those which we associate with freedom: the Statue of Liberty and the locations of both the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party.
Being from Iowa, with the caucus looming just over 100 days out, we are constantly surrounded by candidates, events, and yard signs. I expected some awareness when I traveled out but what I found was quite shocking and very much contradictory to my expectations. It was day and night when comparing the East Coast to Iowa in terms of political awareness and facade.
In New York, I stayed with my family on Long Island about an hour away from the city and didn’t see a single sign for a presidential candidate. From following most candidates on social media, I’ve been able to track their stops and have seen them lightly hit New York. With candidates such as President Donald Trump, Andrew Yang, and former candidate Sen. Kristen Gillibrand all from New York state, I expected to see evidence of the presidential race. Sen. Cory Booker, from New Jersey, is the friendly neighbor to New York and so again, I expected to see something and but I was wrong. Instead of presidential campaign signs, I saw lots of local candidates signs, which as someone with a personal love for local government, made me happy but surprised me nonetheless.
In Boston, a very liberal city I would come to realize, there was also a lack of presentation from the candidates. Where I stayed in Boston, we bordered Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s town of Cambridge. As someone who draws massive crowds, particularly her alleged 20,000 people in New York City, I was very surprised not to see anything that even mentioned her or any other candidate running for president. Bostonians take great pride in their city, history, and sports but not politicians I guess.
From both stops, I did find a few comical pieces of political memorabilia. In New York, a block or so from Times Square, there was a massive billboard with a characterized picture of Donald Trump as a zombie with the word “vote” in massive letters. If you’d like to check out the site yourself, and possibly donate, it is trumpbillboard.com and is promoted by Mitch O’Connell. In Boston, the second comical piece was a sticker that said “Gleib 2020.” Ben Gleib, an American actor and comedian, jokingly started a satirical and fake presidential campaign. So seeing this sticker downtown near the bus stop made me laugh like no other candidate or campaign is represented save this one which is a joke.
Whether my trips were vacations or gathering field observations, it was still shocking to see that a large portion of the United States was living beyond the craziness we call the Iowa Caucus leading to the nomination process. Now that I’m back in Iowa, I’m ready to experience new events, experiences and more candidates. Before the Iowa Caucus, though, we all have another big political event that I personally can’t wait to experience: family Thanksgiving.