Friday, February 7, 2020

Iowa Caucus Night

You might have heard by now about the Iowa Caucuses. If you haven't heard what the caucuses are, you've surely heard about the results mess Iowa found themselves in this week. Regardless of the mess, I still LOVE Iowa Caucus week! This year was only my second time caucusing, but after 2016 (even though that was a mess) I made note to at least get my oldest mini to come caucus with me. Imagine my surprise and thrill when all three minis expressed interest in the caucus and asked to come with me. Even my husband came and participated (shocking because we don't always agree on politics)!

I knew I had made an impact on my minis the weekend before the caucus when they informed me our weekend plans were to go to Raygun "to get our caucus shirts and buttons." I nearly teared up I was so proud of them for thinking we should have a caucus wardrobe.

The night of the caucus was a bit crazy. I had just enough time from daycare closing until we left to eat dinner and shower. Then it was game on. Our precinct was inside Roosevelt High School....along with four other precincts. You can imagine the craziness. However, in light of the whole results debacle, I want to make this perfectly clear: the high school had thousands of our closest neighbors inside of it and each precinct was run smoothly and with a clear understanding of how a caucus worked. There were no flubs or questions of what were happening. This entire results disaster was honestly shocking since the night ran so smoothly. Yes, it was a long night because it can be a long process and there were A LOT of people out caucusing, but our precinct chairs knew what they were doing. If I could give them a pat on the back, I'd do it now. 

Our precinct was inside the high school cafeteria. Things were a bit crowded (especially in the Warren, Bernie, and Pete corners) but everyone was friendly, encouraging, and supportive of one another. It truly is my favorite night because everyone respects everyone, even if you're for a different candidate. The one thing I noted at 2016 caucus was seeing and speaking with a lot of people from other countries who wanted to see an Iowa Caucus. I didn't get to see that this year, but I still had a great time speaking with our neighbors and friends.

The youngest mini had a ton of questions and was sincerely interested in how a caucus works. She was constantly asking what was happening each time we began doing something. The alignments caught her off guard, but as long as we were in the Warren corner she was happy (she thought she was going to meet Elizabeth Warren--I still haven't let her know that Warren was actually in the building but visited a different precinct. That would devestate the youngest mini). The one thing the minis continually asked about was where were the candidates? Despite being told about the night repeatedly, all three thought we would be meeting all of the candidates.

Since we didn't get home until after 9:30 (and the minis went to bed even later because they were anxiously waiting results from the night--honestly one of my favorite things about caucuses/primaries/elections/etc. in general), I caved and let them stay home the next day. All day long they talked to me about their experience the night before and were at the TV when the results finally trickled in.

In four years, I still won't have a child old enough to vote, but I'm willing to bet they'll all want to come along again! Here's some pictures from our night at the caucus:

Max's new tee from Raygun. I wore an oldie. Even Hubs got in on the caucus wardrobe. I'm happy we got to our precinct early because we had quite the long line. It did give us plenty of time to snap pictures though!

Harrison and Elizabeth joined me in Warren's corner, where there were cookies, granola bars, and water bottles. We had come prepared with our own snacks and water bottles, but the minis happily ate cookies with blue icing (that you'll see in the rest of the pictures) that were offered to them. Then they set up camp on the floor and played Tic Tac Toe and wrote about their observations of the night.

Elizabeth listened to the directions intensely.

Eventually the three of them came together (Hubs and Max were in Pete's corner, but we found a spot in the middle of the two candidates that we could see the kids, they could see us, and easily see what was happening with the caucus) and sat under a table to watch the night unfold. I was very impressed that each candidate section had babysitters (most appeared to be high school age) for parents that wanted help with their children. 

It may have been past 10:00 p.m. but they still managed to put their stickers from the caucus right onto our table. I had to peel and scrape them off the next morning. Kids are fun.

We only had to wait until 4 p.m. the day after for part of the results. The minis were glued to the screen to watch the results. I was (and still am) very disheartened by what the media was reporting about Iowa and how everyone in the country seemed to react. Since the actual caucus part had gone waaayyyy smoother than 2016, I was shocked about the disaster afterwards. 

This is how we feel about the #iowacaucusdisaster (yes, a real hashtag on Twitter from the day after):

Even after all the issues with the results, the crowded rooms, and the long night, I fully support the Iowa Caucuses and I hope the night will be memorable for us all.