Sunday, January 13, 2008

First Time Voter Gets Glimpse of the Action

In the title of my first post, I described myself as a “first time voter eager to catch a glimpse of the action” (in Iowa). Now, having spent my week in Iowa, I have soaked up more knowledge about the Iowa caucuses and about political campaigning as a whole than I ever expected I would. Going into the trip, I expected to catch a few campaign events from a distance, do some busy work for the Obama campaign for a few hours, and attend a laid back precinct caucus on the big night. However, what I got was much more than that. The event that I went to were very interactive, and most of the time my seat was good enough to get me a spot on national television. My work with the Obama campaign was far more extensive than I imagined. I got to knock on doors and actually talk to regular Iowans about Obama. In addition, I got to see what campaigning is like behind the scenes. On caucus night, the events were far from boring. The people were pumped up and the room was filled with excitement.

What I have been able to take away from all of this is a better understanding of what it takes to run a political campaign. To win the hearts and minds of millions of voters, you have to have a strong and appealing message. I heard many examples of these at the numerous rallies I attended. To complement this message, you must have a strong grassroots organization to “get out the vote” at the local level. I witnessed this at the Obama headquarters in Ames, Iowa. Finally, I realize now that when it all comes down to it, the people really are the ones who decide which candidate gets elected. The struggling and maneuvering I saw at the precinct caucus demonstrated how much the people enjoy that power. The experiment that is American Democracy is working, and it is working because we the people make it work.

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