Why People Support Amy
WAUKEE, Iowa- On a cold Sunday night I arrived at the Waukee Innovation & Learning Center to attend one of the last Amy Klobuchar events before the Iowa caucuses. Being a Minnesota voter, I have always been interested in seeing Klobuchar in person. As I walked into the rather large event center, I was curious to see what the event would be like. I expected, with the large venue and my experience with other candidates this winter, that the event would be a crowded and high energy affair. I was only correct about one of those things.
After I came inside and signed in, I walked up to the event area which, to my surprise, was comprised of four rows of seats in a square surrounding a small stage. This meant that at maximum the event could only hold maybe 40 people in the audience total. It was interesting that Senator Klobuchar would set up in a venue which so few people were expected. Nevertheless, I was excited to be able to have a much more personal experience than normal with a presidential candidate.
Just as I was thinking about this, the event staff grabbed me and put me in a front seat to the left of a middle-aged woman. Upon sitting down, I introduced myself and remarked on how unexpectedly small the event was. The woman agreed with me saying that she had no idea the event would be like this but that she liked the size and the venue. Additionally, when I asked if she was an Amy supporter, she said that she was unaffiliated, but was going to see every candidate she could before the caucus. In turn, she asked me why I was attending to which replied that I was a Minnesotan taking a class at Drake University about the Iowa caucuses, and I thought it appropriate to see Sen. Klobuchar before she left Iowa.
As we were talking the event staff placed an older man in the open seat to my left. After exchanging introductions, I asked him why he was attending the current Klobuchar event. He said that he was thinking about voting for Tom Steyer, but he had seen this event on Facebook and thought he should see another perspective. I then asked him why he was currently leaning toward Steyer, to which he responded that he had been to a Steyer event recently that had put him in that direction. Specifically, he said that Steyer had talked extensively about term limits for congress which this older gentleman thought was a good idea that no other candidate was proposing.
While I was discussing this idea with the older gentleman, we were interrupted by the event staff playing music and an event staffer coming onto the stage. She gave a prewritten speech in support of Sen. Klobuchar which then transitioned to another staffer who encouraged the audience to caucus and become precinct captains for Sen. Klobuchar. In addition to this, the event staffer told us his personal story of how he came to work for the Klobuchar campaign. He explained to us that he had been an activist worker in California that did busywork for various campaigns where he constantly complained about the different Democratic candidates. Eventually, he explained, his boss got tired of his act and told him to either join a campaign he did like or get out, at which point he joined the Klobuchar campaign. Apparently, his boss had told him, “You made the right choice.”
When this was over, Senator Klobuchar finally took the stage to surprisingly exuberant applause for such a small crowd. Having experienced many other candidate speeches, I was expecting to hear the same talking points from the Senator that she had said on the debate stage. She certainly did deliver on her usual talking points, but she also told us stories highlighting her experiences in office and as a person.
Similar to techniques used by Cory Booker, she used stories to highlight her values, but she also used them to relate to the audience, something I haven’t seen from any other candidate. Further, she gave us the full story on how she started in politics running for Hennepin County Attorney in a middle school gym, to running for a senate seat after working for years in the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party.
Afterward, I could see how Sen. Klobuchar has managed to get such a surge in the polls as of late, polling at 8.3 percent in Iowa. She came off as a relatable, understandable, and genuine politician in contrast to what I saw of her on the debate stage. To be sure that I wasn’t the only one that felt this way, I asked both the older folks that I sat next to during the event and they both said they were very impressed with Sen. Klobuchar.