DES MOINES, Iowa—When I asked Cory Booker about the current crisis in America, he started talking about child poverty. We were standing in the parking lot outside a day-care center for low-income families here on Friday afternoon, and the senator from New Jersey had just finished a roundtable discussion that touched on ways to help young domestic-abuse survivors, parents staying at home with their children, and communities stricken by gun violence.
But what about the constitutional crisis that America seems to be wobbling toward over impeachment, I said, or the fact that it’s become normal among Washington, D.C., insiders to imagine Donald Trump refusing to leave the White House if he’s convicted by the Senate or loses next year’s election?
“Oh, that crisis?” Booker said.
The impeachment fight is all-consuming. It’s the biggest story in politics. No one is talking about anything else—except pretty much everywhere outside of Washington.
That includes here in Iowa, the first state that will cast votes for the next Democratic nominee, and where the candidates descended on Friday night for the latest (and biggest) event of the primary season so far. Officially this was a “dinner,” but it was really four hours of 13 candidates speaking in an arena long after the plates of disconcertingly beige chicken and mashed potatoes had been cleared away, and as even the cash bars ran low on beer. A smoke machine puffed out four jets around the stage each time a candidate walked on. There were big signs and flashing lights and even one campaign handing out foam boots because—get it?—that’s what Democrats want to do to Trump, give him the boot.