If you have a Twitter account and a blog that describes yourself as a Minnesota Democratic Volunteer and you support Amy Klobuchar for President, then you should volunteer to help Amy. That is why at 7 a.m. on Saturday, July 13, I was riding to Mason City, Iowa, to door knock. I was looking forward to talking to real Iowa Democratic voters about the presidential race. I’ve been frustrated that Amy is stuck at 1% or 2% in recent polls and was hoping to learn some things about her prospects in Iowa. And I did.
But let’s back up for a minute. I have been following the new page on Amy’s presidential website that lists upcoming events. (https://www.mobilize.us/amyklobuchar/) Thanks to these listings, I’ve made phone calls to Iowa and to Minnesota volunteers and attended a debate viewing party. I plan to walk with Amy in the Rondo Days parade on July 20. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a listing for canvassing in Iowa on July 13. I had nothing on my calendar for that day, so, what the heck, I registered to join. I’ve done a lot of door knocking for political candidates and I thought it would be fun. I had no idea where we would be going, but it turned out to be Mason City, which is close to the Minnesota-Iowa border.
It wasn’t all fun. We drove through a thunderstorm just before we got to Mason City and started door knocking in a light drizzle. It was a warm drizzle, so we soldiered on. We had seven people to knock on doors, an eclectic group: three young guys from Amy’s staff; an older woman from Hopkins and an older guy from Rochester, neither of whom had ever door knocked before; an older active-DFL woman from Apple Valley; and me, an older active-DFL volunteer from Brooklyn Park.
The Hopkins woman had an interesting story. Amy’s staff had helped her resolve a problem with MnSure and she felt obligated to help Amy. I thought that there should have been an easy way to repay the debt without riding to Iowa and knocking on doors for the first time in the rain. She and I knocked together for the first hour and a half and then she took a break. She did great! Her volunteering shows the power that can come when a politician resolves an issue for a citizen.
We knocked on the doors of Democratic voters who had attended presidential caucuses in the past, so it was mostly a friendly crowd. The first person who opened the door was a Trump supporter, but the very next one was an Amy supporter! Her exact words, said with a wry smile, were, “Why wouldn’t I be supporting her!” At that point, I thought it was going to be easy.
Here is some of what I learned:
- I talked to about 30 people. Besides the Trump supporter, I found two Amy supporters, two Warren supporters, one Bernie supporter, and everyone else was undecided. Any poll in Iowa that ranks presidential candidates right now should be viewed skeptically. Iowans have not made up their minds.
- After a woman told me she was undecided, I said, “I am finding that Iowans want to be wooed.” She said, “Yes, we do.” I replied, “Well, I’m down here wooing you for Amy.” She answered, “I’ll remember your wooing.” Mission accomplished at that door. That was such a good line that I used it several more times.
- The good news is that almost every undecided voter had a good impression of Amy and several liked her a lot. Even though they liked her, “it’s too soon to decide” and “there are too many candidates now to decide.”
- We asked what issue was important to them and I kept hearing education or healthcare. No one mentioned immigration.
My conclusion from this event is that Amy needs to be impressive in the debate at the end of July. If she is, there are many voters out there who are ready to support her.