Yang Kicks Off Iowa Bus Tour at the Capitol
I work in a suite of office buildings about two blocks away from the lawn of the Iowa State Capitol building. If my little intern-office had any windows, I would be able to the golden dome from my desk (but, alas). Most days, the capitol building doesn’t appear to be very busy from the outside. Maybe a small family tour or a tight huddle of men in sport coats. Today was different.
This afternoon, around 3:00 PM, the Andrew Yang campaign bus parked at the front of the steps. Local news outlets tightly clung to the front of the crowd of about 100 people. Everyone was bundled in hats, scarves, and gloves, their misty breath clouding the air around them.
Today was the long-awaited kick-off event of Andrew Yang’s tour de Iowa. He began the tour right here in Des Moines, departed for Grinnell afterward, and finished the evening off in Iowa City. The tour will continue throughout the week Grassley-style. The campaign is hoping to use this tour to meet their lofty fundraising goal of $2 million, The Des Moines Register reports.
The first speaker to introduce Yang was a veteran and single mother. She spoke to the crowd about how thrilled she was to finally feel seen and excited by a candidate for president. She talked about her struggles, working two jobs and supporting children on her own. Universal Basic Income, or the famously coined “Freedom Dividend,” would change her life, she told fellow supporters. She appreciated that Yang did not represent the status-quo in Washington and that she was confident that he would do his part to put people ahead of corporations.
Today’s event was more than just an Iowa tour kick-off. It was a full-blown celebration. Today, a Monmouth poll was released showing Andrew Yang meeting the Democratic National Committee threshold to qualify for the December debate, which is only two days away. This poll was the last one that he needed to take the stage. As of today, Yang will be the only candidate of color represented at the debate.
Yang supporters have been resilient in this cycle. Not only have they bared the cold weather to hear him speak at the foot of the capitol today, but they have also remained consistent in their donations and their support. He has held a steady national polling average around 2-3 percent and continues to qualify for debates by the skin of his teeth. At today’s event, a surprising number of supporters told me that they were visiting from out of state.
Yang also has a solid infrastructure of local support here in Iowa. One supporter, James Hawthorne, told me today that he plans to caucus for Yang in February because “He’s got more integrity than anyone else in the field. I like that he’s young and that he’s forward-thinking.” Yang’s campaign is also planning on growing its field staff in Iowa with the opening of a campaign office in Ames, Iowa this Thursday.