CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa—When Winston Churchill said democracy was “the worst form of government except for all those other forms,” he did not foresee the tailgate party that descended on eastern Iowa yesterday morning.*
Former Representative Beto O’Rourke’s campaign rented a taco truck and dished out free chorizo. Senator Amy Klobuchar’s gang rattled little white bells. Former Representative John Delaney’s team had a bagpiper and a mini blimp overhead. Some of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s supporters wore bright feather boas, with a few women dancing up and down the street playing Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” on a portable speaker. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg hosted a barbecue at a park and played keys with a local band while wearing sunglasses. Senator Bernie Sanders marched from a McDonald’s alongside striking workers and activists.
Cenk Uygur, the progressive television host of The Young Turks, ate pizza next door to the Sanders campaign’s staging ground in a local Mexican restaurant while his “army” of supporters held up signs, screaming at candidates to “sign the pledge,” though they never screamed what the pledge was about. Hundreds of people worked thousands of hours combined—and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars—so 19 presidential candidates could speak for five minutes each inside the DoubleTree Hotel ballroom here for the Iowa Democratic Party’s “Hall of Fame Dinner.” The “dinner” consisted mainly of chicken-satay sticks and big vats of guacamole and spinach dip.