House Party Campaigning
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Growing up in Illinois, I never thought I would be able to just walk into someone’s home to hear a presidential candidate speak. I always imagined seeing candidates at big events with a stage, security, and tons of people there to listen. It would have been so weird to imagine having the opportunity to just walk up to a candidate, shake their hand, and get to actually talk to them. But in Iowa, candidates prefer to meet people this way.
The way candidates campaign in Iowa has always been known to be different than the way it’s done in the rest of the country. The candidates attempt to campaign in a way that is much more personable and one-on-one. They want to let the voters know that they care about each and every one of them. One way that candidates do this is by going to small events hosted at people’s houses. I had heard of these events a couple of months ago, but I hadn’t attended one until this past week.
There was a house party for Amy Klobuchar in West Des Moines that I was going to and it was nothing similar to what I expected. I thought that I was going to walk into a huge fancy house with a lot of people and news media everywhere. But what I actually walked into was a normal house owned by an older couple. Their dogs were running around loving all the people that were giving them attention. There were people there from the neighborhood and community and it was a nice environment. There was no security, it was just the people that were there to listen to Amy talk and ask questions. People with cameras were there as well, but there weren’t mainstream news stations around.
Living in Iowa has made me see politicians in a different way. Across the country, politicians are on the news and social media and are often made into celebrities. But realizing that they are normal people like everyone else makes trusting them seem easier, which is why this type of campaigning hits so hard in Iowa. I wish that candidates would put in the effort they put into Iowa everywhere so that everyone could have the one-on-one experience that the months leading up to the caucus bring.