Excitement of Caucus Reaches the Sky

Posted: January 16, 2020 | By: Malcolm Strand Tagged: Blog

The seventh Democratic debate has come and gone through Iowa; but until Feb. 4, national reporters and journalists are setting up shop in Des Moines and around the state to cover the impending caucuses. As a freshman, the last week for me has largely been spent working with CNN; so while I do have plenty to talk about there, I’m first interested in the wild weather whipping through Polk County the last few weeks.

When I first arrived on the Drake campus on Jan 6, it was a surprisingly warm 43 degrees. This shocked me, as I had just come from North Dakota – a primal region in the upper-Midwest where it rarely goes above zero for months. As it was 40 degrees warmer than back home, I felt like wearing a t-shirt outside! If this is what it’ll be for the next three weeks, I’ll be living in a paradise! I thought to myself.

And with that jubilation, I promptly jinxed myself, along with the rest of the city. 

It has only been ten days since my return to Iowa, but – as far as the weather has been concerned – it’s felt more like thirty. Day by day, Mother Nature has ravaged the area with 60-degree temperatures, 10-degree temperatures, violent cool wind, icy cold gusts, rain, sleet, snow, and freezing rain all wrapped together in a torrential nightmare that has surprised Iowans and coastal journalists alike.

By far the strangest chain of events began last Wednesday. It was my first day on the job at CNN, and the weather was overcast with chilly temperatures in the 20s. While it was by no means the pleasant 60 I felt two days prior, it also wasn’t below zero.

The next day began a bizarre flip-flop. In contrast to the 8th’s relatively normal January day, the 9th swung 45 degrees towards a warm, sunny, 65-degree day. Consequently, it was also a gusty day due to the massive changes in temperature.

The following day saw a return to frigid sub-freezing temperatures. The wind strangely died down before it started raining – and then sleeting – and then raining ice – and then snowing – all in one day. I woke up the following morning with 3-4 inches on the ground, where it has remained ever since.

As I struggled to keep up with the ridiculous weather, I soon became caught up in the whirlwind that caucus season has come to be in Iowa. It soon led me to reflect on the two climates – weather and political. January in Iowa right now has had some crazy weather, and I’m sure that –with another impending snowstorm and windchill advisory – we’re not out of the tunnel just yet. Politically, I would argue that this election cycle has been the most unpredictable cycle in recent memory – and there’s still almost three weeks to go before the first votes are tallied. While I don’t at all argue that the two climates are correlated, it is interesting to think that, just as Iowa’s weather gets more chaotic, so too can Iowa’s political scene.