An Evening of Adios Trump
DES MOINES, Iowa — Friday evening, Des Moines hosted the Liberty and Justice Celebration, an annual fundraiser for the Iowa Democratic Party. This reception marked the largest gathering of Iowa Democrats of the year and was the largest audience any of the Democratic candidates would have the chance to speak in front of before caucus night. Democrats filled the Wells Fargo Arena in downtown Des Moines and attendees used every chance possible to flex their organizational prowess with noisemakers, chants, and campaign swag.
I spent the night with former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro. While former Vice President Joe Biden spoke, Castro dropped by his fan section to shake hands and take pictures with voters. You would be hard-pressed to find a city in America where students, adults, and the public has such unfiltered access to presidential candidates. By the time attention turns to the rest of the states in the nation many of these candidates will have most likely dropped out.
When I met Castro, I heard Biden in the background and remembered Castro has been one of Biden’s most vicious attackers on the debate stage. When Castro had the opportunity to take the stage as the ninth candidate in the speaking order, many attendees had cleared out of the venue. Still, his supporters stuck around even with many of those I spoke to already having a fallback candidate in mind in the likely event that Castro drops out sooner rather than later.
The Castro supporters held signs, carried, glow sticks, and donned their “Adios Trump” buttons, one such supporter was Iowa native Sonia Reyes-Snyder. Sonia is inspired by what Castro represents as the only Latino in the race but said she will jump to Warren if he decides to exit the race. Sonia also said that she decides who to support seriously as all Iowa Democrats should.
“We have the responsibility to set the tone for the rest of the nation,” Reyes-Snyder said. We have the responsibility to be informed and not just hear what the candidates say they are going to do but do our homework on what they have done. One thing I want to gain is a little more understanding of, specifically for Iowa, what the candidates know, what they have proven to do, or what they are claiming they are going to do.”
As I wandered through Hy-Vee Hall across the street from Wells Fargo Arena both Joe Biden and U.S. Senator Cory Booker paraded within feet of me led by marching bands and dancers. While most of the candidates parading through the events are in much better shape than my candidate for the night, Castro represents more than a candidate to many of his supporters.
“[Julián] represents what most of us are. Everyone in this country is an immigrant and he has made it far just as so many people hear from many different nations,” Reyes-Snyder said. “It means a lot to me that he is the only Latino in the race. Other Latino children can see themselves represented and can see that they can do this too.”