As the caucus season was heating up in Iowa last year, my mom started popping up at Democratic events all over town. Even though I’ve been impressed by her activism and her seemingly endless energy to attend potlucks and rallies, I’ve started to notice that she’s gotten a little swept up in the indisputable star power of being an undecided Iowa voter.
“I can’t come over for dinner, I have the opportunity to sit behind Bernie Sanders,” she told me recently, referring to scoring a spot in the camera shot during his campaign appearance. She isn’t planning on caucusing for him or anything – she was just jazzed about the possibility of being on the news.
After taking me out to lunch one day, she tricked me into meeting Michael Bennet by suggesting we casually stroll into a local gift shop where he, conveniently, was giving a speech. “I know he won’t get nominated, but he might become a member of a cabinet or something,” she whispered to me when I told her I had no idea who we were listening to. She was already buddies with many of the press people in the room, and she pointed out the ones she’d given interviews to, some more than once. The lead-up to the Iowa caucuses is the most attention those of us who live in Cedar Rapids ever get, and although we’re generally a humble people, many of us aren’t exactly shy.
“You touched Mayor Pete?” I asked my mom, laughing, when my sister sent me a screenshot from a news clip. The picture showed my mother with her hand squarely on the candidate’s chest.
“I was just touching his pin,” she said, trying to rationalize her hands-on approach to vetting political candidates. I couldn’t resist teasing her, and of course, informing her that if she keeps this up, she’s definitely going to get tackled by the Secret Service at some point.