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Thu Sep 5, 2019, 04:04 PM

A Fresh, Well-Funded Start for Pete Buttigieg in Iowa


Part of Buttigieg’s strategic charm is his ability to communicate even progressive stances with rhetoric that emphasizes seemingly nonpartisan American values. Matthew McGrane, who recently moved, with his husband, from Chicago to Cedar Rapids, told me that he appreciated Buttigieg’s “expansion of the term ‘freedom,’ ” which, during speeches, the candidate defines, in “its richest sense,” not simply as a “freedom from” societal ills—unjust working conditions, corrupt polling practices—but a freedom “to live a life of your choosing.” A caucusgoer who attended the same event drew a comparison between the candidate’s liberty to choose a life partner—Buttigieg, who came out in 2015, is married to a man—and her own liberty to select a health-care plan. “There’s nothing more essential to freedom than having those rights,” she said.

As the volunteers made their way to College Green Park, where eight hundred people convened for Buttigieg’s final stop, I chatted with Izzi Teduits and Sean Murphy, two students who helm a campus organization at the University of Iowa called Hawkeyes for Pete. Like many of Buttigieg’s volunteers, the students plan to rely on what the campaign refers to as “relational organizing,” a strategy that prioritizes leveraging familial and social networks over cold-calling strangers. Earlier that day, in Cedar Rapids, a crowd member who works at the university described a “buzz” for the candidate on campus. “You’ll see the T-shirts,” he told me. “You’ll see the signs. I have not seen that with any other candidate.” On campus, students had just finished their first week of classes, but Murphy, a sophomore, described an already palpable sense of enthusiasm. “The university president hosts a block party at the start of school, and people were just ecstatic about Pete,” he said. “He’s young. He’s fresh. He has great ideas.”

For the last few months, Buttigieg has drawn crowds in Iowa that conjure the early energy of the Obama campaign. Last month, after five hundred people showed up to a rally in Fairfield, more than a few told me that, although Obama’s audience in the same town twelve years ago was slightly larger, no other candidate’s numbers have come as close. The campaign has not resisted leaning into these comparisons, in no small part, it seems, because Buttigieg will need to rely on a similar tactic to succeed. In 2008, Obama managed to activate political interest in under-engaged communities in Iowa, where an unprecedented turnout of first-time caucusgoers delivered him a surprising eight-point victory. The precedent for such a strategy might be rarefied, but it exists. The question is whether Buttigieg’s campaign has the power, and the patience, to repeat it.

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Reply A Fresh, Well-Funded Start for Pete Buttigieg in Iowa (Original post)
radical noodle Sep 5 OP
murielm99 Sep 7 #1

Response to radical noodle (Original post)

Sat Sep 7, 2019, 09:34 PM

1. K&R

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