The far too big corn-dog? The dripping pork chop? Or the fried cheese curd? Joe Biden has just arrived at the traditional Iowa State Fair, as he faces one of the toughest decisions a presidential candidate must make here: what should he eat? As greasy as possible is good, that suggests folk proximity, but at the same time the whole thing should be so consumed that it does not look like the inevitable pictures, as if this were the first time. Biden knows that, of course, it's his third candidacy for the presidency, and maybe that's why he makes a safe choice: a stem ice cream. You can not go wrong.
So when Biden bites his ice cream, Faye Sieck sees her chance. She is traveling with her husband at the State Fair and now happens to be near the ice cream stall. Is that him? He is it! Sieck presses through the reporters and staff Biden, she makes it through to him, there is a photo, a handshake, a few warm words. "I'll choose him," says Sieck afterwards: "Joe is just a good." She also remains for the speech, which Biden then holds on a piece of grass, in a polo shirt and with aviator sunglasses. As always, the local paper "Des Moines Register" reserved space on the exhibition grounds. Almost all of the 24 Democratic presidential candidates come here these days to give a speech – and then immediately to cover the rest of the state with performances.
Kingmaker and Executioner
The pilgrimage to Iowa in August is part of the political calendar. In the peasant state in the Midwest start the primaries in early February, in which the Democrats determine the challenger of President Donald Trump. Although this is only in half a year, but still the candidates are already spending a lot of time and money in the local election campaign, hire dozens of employees and court local party stars. Who wins in Iowa or at least does well, gets momentum for the following primaries. That was the case with Barack Obama, who surprisingly won in Iowa in 2008. If you fail, for example, the campaign may already be over, because the donations will not come because the impression is created: he or she will not grab it. That's what happened to Biden at his last application eleven years ago. The voters of Iowa as kingmaker – and as hangman.
Iowa is anything but representative of America. The state is very rural, the population is whiter and older than elsewhere. The fact that this is the first to be chosen has historical reasons, which also have to do with the complicated electoral system. In Iowa, people are not just throwing a ballot in the ballot box, but they are meeting for an election meeting in their neighborhood, a so-called caucus. In schoolhouses and gymnasiums, they then spend several hours debating the advantages and disadvantages of each candidate before finally deciding. The people of Iowa are proud of this process. Probably nowhere else in the US do voters pursue politics as closely as here.
The State Fair attracts one million visitors, and has existed since 1854, when Iowa was still prairie.
It therefore has a certain logic that politics also plays an important role at the State Fair. The event attracts one million visitors each in the capital city of Des Moines, a mix of funfair and agricultural fair, and it's been around since 1854, when Iowa was mostly prairie. The most popular attraction is a life-size cow made of butter that stands in a refrigerated room. But many people just come to fill their stomach. With corn-dogs, of course, fried sausages in corn breadcrumbs, which stuck on a wooden skewer, just as everything is deep-fried here and put on a wooden skewer. But some are attracted to the Fair, because they want to listen to what the politicians have to tell, who advertise their vote.
One of them is soybean Larry Miller. His farm has been in the family for more than 120 years, but the situation has not been as difficult as it has been in recent months. He has lost many customers due to Trump's trade war against China. Although the government compensates him with subsidies for the time being, but the problem is not resolved: "Our customers are now supplied by the Brazilians, they will not come back." He supported Trump – unlike many other farmers – the last time not, now he really wants to choose a democrat, only which one? He is not sure, but he tends to Biden. "He is more moderate than the others. We can not live in a country where we give everything to all. "He means, for example, the promise of some Democrats to make access to a college education free. The Democrats would have to set up someone who was eligible for independence – and that was the case with Biden.
Photos with Liz, Tacos with Kamala
However, Biden does not cause enthusiasm at Miller – and not only with him. The 76-year-old leads the polls in Iowa. But the mood among the people who are attending election campaigns these days is rather modest. Different in the performances of his perhaps biggest rival.
A wedding hall in Council Bluffs, two hours outside Des Moines. A few hundred people came that evening to listen to Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senator. The reception is roaring, the audience accompanies their speech with applause and shouting. Warren tells how she made it to poor Harvard Professor despite a youth, because social advancement in America used to be easier. Today, the economy only works for the richest.
"She's right," says Lorinda Johnson, who has followed the performance. The retiree lives in Nebraska and persuaded her husband to get in the car with her for a few hours to see Warren. Warren is unbelievably smart, says Johnson, and what she says about the economy is on hand. "She has proven in her career that she's on the side of the little people." Sheila Ryan, nursing educator, believes that Warren has the energy to stand up to Trump on a debut stage: "She would take him apart "At least Warren proves a certain amount of staying power by taking the time to address each other with photos, one after the other – there are dozens.
Long days for the Democrats, also for Kamala Harris, which is in third place in many polls. Unlike Warren, the California senator has not been to Iowa often. She is now trying to make up for her backlog with a five-day bus tour of the state. At noon, her bus stops in Storm Lake, where she visits a small Mexican restaurant. Harris, in jeans and white sneakers, greets the guests at the tables, accepts encouraging words and then orders Spanish tacos with a few chunks of bread – "without raw onions!" Some people just have lunch and do not seem to know it, others have come extra because of Harris. The visit is ticked to the minute, young employees scare the accompanying journalists in front of him: «people, you know that we are too late!»
After visiting the Mexican, Harris goes back to the bus with a local teacher, talking about climate change and public schools needing more money. Then the senator gets on the bus, the reporters behind, the train moves on. Rest in Storm Lake. The Mexican is still Dan Loving, he had come to see Harris in person. "We are very privileged here in Iowa for these visits," says the 60-year-old.
Loving does not always vote democratically, but as far as Trump is concerned, the case is clear: "He has to go." So he proceeds with system: "I look at as many candidates as possible and check them." Loving finds many of the Democrats sympathetic But nobody has convinced him yet. Whether someone stands clearly to the left or rather in the middle, is secondary: "We just need someone who can stand against Trump." For a long time he believed that Biden could do this best, but now he has doubts: "He is pretty old. "So Loving keeps looking. Six months remain until the primaries – time enough for many politician visits in Iowa.
Created: 12.08.2019, 20:05 clock