Becoming a National Delegate

Posted: January 23, 2020 | By: Max McPartland Tagged: Blog

During my presidential nomination class this morning, Jordan Oster came to speak about his caucus and convention experience. Jordan is a Drake alumnus who graduated in 2009. Our professor invited him to come into our class because he went to the Democratic National Convention as a delegate for the then-Senator Barrack Obama. He gave us a first-hand perspective on how he became a national delegate and how we could too. This was relevant for us because not only because of the topic of this class but because a lot of students in this class were in the same position that he was twelve years ago: a prescient chair in the Iowa caucuses.

Jordan Oster walked in our room with a button that said prescient chair on it with the Obama logo and a bag filled with political memorabilia. Jordan seemed like the equivalent of a person who collects Star Wars antiques or goes to comic cons but for political events and items. I think he would agree with that statement. Although his voice and body language were not one of a passionate speaker, you could tell that his passion for politics was unmatched.

Jordan was in the Democrats Club at his high school and continued to become the President of Drake Democrats. As President, he got the opportunity to introduce Joe Biden at Mars Café and meet former President Barrack Obama on a school bus along with other candidates. His senior thesis was a fifty-page independent study on the minority voter’s performance in the 2008 Iowa caucus. It was pretty obvious that Drake was the right school for him.

The location for Drake students to caucus in 2008 was in the Olin Hall auditorium. Jordan talked about how crowded it was for everyone. After the delegate allocation process and Obama had won in Olin Hall, it was time to select a county delegate. Jordan Oster was the obvious choice. He made his way from the county convention through the district into the state convention. Jordan decided at this point that he really wanted to be selected to go the national convention, but getting through the state convention is much more difficult than the others because you usually run against people who are more well known. He decided to gather a list of all the people who would be voting at the state convention. He wrote them all letters to tell them his story and why he should be one of the delegates sent to the national convention. At the state convention, all the delegates have the opportunity to speak for about a minute on why they should be sent to the national convention. Jordan made his case and was chosen to be a delegate.

Jordan told us stories about the convention, all the celebrities he saw, and the great and not so great speeches. Jordan’s political interests didn’t stop after college. He worked for the 2012 President Obama re-election campaign and ever since has been working for campaigns as well as non-profits who advocate for a variety of issues such as clean air and water. Although he says life got more boring after he stopped working on campaigns and going to national conventions, Jordan spends time doing good and collecting a lot of cool obscure items from political campaigns.