Narrowing Democratic presidential race in Iowa fosters unity

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Photo credit: Grace Doyle

Drake University's Knapp Center served as Des Moines, Iowa's precinct. Starting at 8 p.m., Des Moines residents began caucusing for their preferred Democratic candidates.

By Grace Doyle

The Iowa caucuses, which mark the first nominating contest of the 2020 election cycle, took place the night of Feb. 3. Though the results of the caucus are still unclear due to a flawed app and inconsistent results in about 5% of precincts, the scene at one caucus site was one of determined energy to beat Donald Trump.

The 62nd precinct was held at Drake University. With a total of 849 caucus goers, swarms of eligible voters migrated towards candidates sections in the 7,000 seat Knapp Center.

In the first round, each caucus-goer filled out a presidential preference card for one of the seven initial Democratic candidates. If a candidate didn’t meet a certain voting threshold in a precinct, most often a 15 percent threshold, they were non-viable and supporters had to realign with a candidate who met the threshold.

There were questions of the viability of certain candidates like Andrew Yang and Tom Steyer; however, much of the feeling was that of beating the current White House rather than remaining completely loyal to a single candidate.

In a poll from Emerson College ,the overall consensus of most Democratic voters is that if their favored candidate weren’t the nominee, they would support another democrat in the race for the White House. For example, 87 percent of Joe Biden supporters and 90 percent of Elizabeth Warren supporters said they would vote for another candidate.

Mitsi Lizer, 59, from Des Moines, Iowa was one the attendees of the caucus as an Amy Klobuchar supporter.  In precinct 62, Klobuchar was viable at the end of the first round with 140 supporters, meeting the 127 voter viability threshold.

“I will vote Democrat no matter who the nominee is,” Lizer said. “Someone who can beat Trump, to be honest, is the most important issue.”

Another caucus-goer, Kate Lyon of Des Moines, was an attendee to caucus for former Vice President Joe Biden. Only five percent of Biden supporters said they wouldn’t vote for a Democrat if it wasn’t the candidate they support, while for nine percent it depends on the nominee.

“I believe he has the best chance at beating Trump,” Lyon said, “and if Biden for some reason isn’t viable, then I am supporting Warren.”

As the night moved forward the sense of not just a candidate winning, but Democrats winning was a widely held priority.

“I think that we’re in it to beat Trump and to get a Democrat into the White House,” Lyon said. “We know how important this upcoming election is.”