Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Iowa: Day 4 + Election Results Postscript

I wanted to beat the snow storm so I left Iowa a day early. Unfortunately, I was going to miss the caucus process Monday night.

I drove two hours to Des Moines, mostly through icy fog. I highly recommend two of the podcasts I listened to during the boring drive. The first is an interview of a journalist who has covered every Middle East war since 1973. The second is an interview of New York Times food critic Pete Wells.

I grabbed a quick lunch at this "Chinese" joint next to the airport. I had overdosed on pork during this trip but I just had to try their bacon egg roll. It was surprisingly funky, in a good way. I had imagined an entire slice of bacon wrapped inside the egg roll, but it was actually little bits peppered in the edible delivery device.

At a table next to mine was a nice older lady. We got to talking and I learned that she was going to be a Hillary precinct captain on caucus night. Despite all the vitriol and bad blood, I quickly realized that in the grand scheme of things, we are on the same side. We really need to talk to and socialize with people with different points of view. Hanging out with partisans who agree with you 100% of the time is neither productive nor healthy.

On the flight to my Vegas layover, I read a sad but uplifting article in the airline magazine(!) about a Navajo woman who delivers fresh water to reservation residents.

I had a three hour layover in Vegas and my mother took me to this authentic Chinese restaurant right next to the airport. I highly recommend it if you have a few hours to burn between connections. Having had no real vegetables for three days, I ate every green-looking thing on the table.

A final note about the trip. Somehow, my boarding passes said I got assigned to TSA Pre-Check. It was incredibly convenient. There were no lines, and I didn't have to take off my shoes or stand in that see-me-nude machine. I'm going to sign up for it. It made the airport experience infinitely better.

A final final note. I was and am conflicted. I realize that I was essentially a caucus tourist. Though my motives were sincere-- I wanted substantive change in the political process and wanted to make this country a better place for the poor and middle class-- this was essentially a vacation. I treated Iowa like an exotic destination and marveled at the foreign ways the people there lived and ate. I do not feel good about it.

Did Bernie win, lose, or draw? Officially, Hillary won 699.57 county delegates to Sanders's 697.77. The county where I worked, Black Hawk County, went for Sanders 53%-47%. The arcane rules and imperfect hand counting led to a less-than-ideal result. Six delegates-- SIX-- were determined by coin tosses. Hillary won all six.

American democracy at work, ladies and gentlemen!

Post postscript:
Among Democratic voters ages 17 to 29, Bernie won 84% to 14%.

So was it a win, lose, or draw for Bernie?


Alan said...

A win, Momentum is on our side. Can't wait for New Hampshire.

Your motives were pure, don't sweat it Jim.

P.S. my wife and I applied for Sentri to ease Mexico border crossings and then never used it. Last time we flew we were pleasantly surprised to be cleared for TSA pre-check as well. What a huge relief when traveling, totally worth the 7o or so bucks and interview process.

Rich said...

Introduction of Uber/Lyft in Las Vegas has me eating a lot more off-strip on my tourist/convention visits. Works rather well for that.

Extra $15 ($100 total) gets you TSA-Pre and Global Entry. You travel overseas from time to time, DO IT. Expect ridiculous wait-times for initial interview: We just signed up our older kid and the next appointment at SFO is in... July.