Adventures of a Liberal Democrat at the Iowa caucuses – Part 1

As if Scottish and UK politics aren’t enough, I’ve long had a curiosity, a voyeuristic fascination with politics and elections in America.

It’s not just that elections there really matter and have an impact well beyond the US domestic border. It’s also the energy and enthusiasm (no matter how superficial or manufactured) that I’ve found infectious. It’s why I, along with my best mate (and 2016 Holyrood candidate) Alex Cole-Hamilton, went to help Obama’s first campaign in 2008. We did our little bit to help the Democrats win Virginia for the first time in a presidential election since 1964.

I also learned a lot about campaigning, especially the impact of reaching out and meeting voters face to face along with the importance of continually making your volunteers feel valued and appreciated. That said, as a Liberal Democrat, it was somewhat unnerving to campaign in a place where door to door leaflet delivery was against the law and subject to pretty stiff fines.

And so, when I realised I would be in the USA for work during the first week of February, I couldn’t resist the chance to head out a few days early and visit Iowa, the state which takes such pride in being the first to begin the process of electing a new president.

The caucuses take place in two days and the state Democrat Party has been incredibly kind in allowing me to be an international observer.

So I’m starting my unavoidably convoluted travels from Edinburgh to Iowa. It’s a place that’s smaller in size and population than my native Scotland and, let’s be honest, it has a somewhat iffy record on predicting presidential nominees. Yet it is a place that will sit firmly in the gaze of the world’s media over these next few days. I’m not going to lie. I’m almost giddy with excitement…

* Kevin Lang is a Councillor for the Almond ward which George Grubb represented from 1999-2012.

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  • Jonathan Monroe 30th Jan '16 - 10:31pm

    It’s the State Democratic Party. Saying “Democrat Party” at the Caucus will make people think you are a right-wing troll. See for example this

  • Kevin , lovely to see your excitement . I do not know whether you re a new visitor to the USA or regular one . I remember my first visit , with my wife ,who is from there , yet who I had met here , as she had been here for some while , and we had already married when we went there , to New York , her city , what an experience ! Twenty years ago , this year , I was still in my twenties then , I had married America ! Keep us posted , bon voyage , have a nice day !!!

  • I’d love to be there too. The excitement is almost palatable. I definitely wouldn’t be there helping the self-professed socialist Sanders though 😉

    I think that the next few days will be very interesting indeed. I expect that Trump has the whole Republican nomination sewn up already. If Sanders wins Iowa and New Hampshire (as I expect he will) – that will make things very interesting for Clinton.

  • *Palpable – stupid autocorrect.

  • Via a diversion back to London – hope the second flight was more comfortable!

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