Cory Booker Offered Me His Jacket
BEAVERDALE, Iowa – On a temperate January afternoon, several potential caucus-goers from the Beaverdale community gathered to listen to Senator Cory Booker speak about why he’s running for president and why Iowans should choose him as their candidate. There were more people in attendance than both myself and the host planned for on a Tuesday afternoon. The event originally began inside the home of Sean Bagniewski, chair of the Polk Country Democrats, but was shortly moved to his deck due to the overflow of attendees.
The organizer for the Beaverdale area kicked off the event with his stump speech, explaining that he chose Senator Booker because of his fearlessness and passion for defeating climate change. The most interesting thing about many stump speeches in Iowa is that the organizer normally begins by explaining that they are not from Iowa, which is not appealing to first-in-the-nation caucus-goers whatsoever. Next, Chairman Bagniewski began his speech about the kind of man Senator Booker is and his political history. As this speech was delivered, the crowd shared laughs over a bald head peeking through the door behind the chairman. As the speech was wrapping up, Senator Booker walked out onto the chilly deck to applause and smiles from the crowd. Unlike most events, this particular one seemed to have more younger people than older. This could potentially speak about the demographic that Senator Booker is reaching or just to who lives in Beaverdale.
Senator Cory Booker’s speech revolved around his corny dad jokes that he mostly inherited from his father and his ability to reach across the aisle. He pushes a platform of unity within the Democratic Party and becoming a united force against President Trump. The audience clearly felt the passion in his voice as he spoke about what a Booker administration would look like. He mentioned his time in Newark and how he turned his hometown around for the better. He, of course, shamelessly plugged Street Fight and used it to explain how he would fight against President Trump. One of my personal favorite quotes from this event was when Senator Booker exclaimed, “I miss Obama, and I miss her husband, too!”
Overall, the attitude was hopeful and light-hearted throughout the event. Senator Booker did an excellent job of working the crowd and spoke with such fervor. At one point during his speech, his staffer came up to him and offered him his coat. Senator Booker declined and offered that anyone in the audience could wear his jacket if they chose to. This is Iowa, a presidential candidate offering his jacket to caucus-goers.
He took questions from the audience and then had to leave to get back to Washington, D.C. I watched as the audience immediately rushed to meet Senator Booker and snap one of his well-known selfies. The line was fairly long but tolerable. I listened in on a conversation Senator Booker had with a Drake student. She explained to him that she was undecided going into his event and was now feeling “like something has changed.”