January 4, 2008

One of our commenters sends iPhone photos from an Iowa caucus.

Our regular commenter reader_iam sends these pictures from the Democratic caucus last night in the auditorium at Washington Elementary School, Locust Street, Davenport, Iowa. She emails:
Final count (viability was 38): O-184 (170), E-52 (38), C-7 (29), B-3 (9), Richardson-0 (4) Undeclared-4 (3). [Parenthetical numbers represent the initial declaration. A couple of people left before the final count; also, note that in the final count, the Clinton and Biden holdouts, along with the undeclareds, don't "count" under Dem rules].

These pix (sorry for their quality) focus primarily on the Obama group (which, obviously, was the largest). In the first picture, you can see some of the Edwards supporters way at the back to the left and to the right starting from the orange-shirted guy moving backwards.

Washington Elementary School, Locust Street, Davenport, Iowa.  These photos were taken by Reader_Iam, a frequent commenter on my blog.

In the second, the Edwards supporters start in the row behind the blue-shirted guy with his arms crossed, and then move backwards.

Washington Elementary School, Locust Street, Davenport, Iowa.  These photos were taken by Reader_Iam, a frequent commenter on my blog.

The final photo contains only caucus-goers from the Obama group. I wasn't in a good place to get a picture of the whole auditorium — unless I had leaped upon the stage and shoved aside the chairman, which, given what a crappy alderman he was with regard to my immediate neighborhood, I wouldn't have minded doing! ; )

Washington Elementary School, Locust Street, Davenport, Iowa.  These photos were taken by Reader_Iam, a frequent commenter on my blog.
I don't think my precinct is a particularly active one; in fact, I think it's one of those which tends to feel sort of disenfranchised, though my immediate neighborhood is an exception (more professionals, I guess — lots of lawyers, for example, though not wealthy ones). But out they came, for what was billed as potentially a three-hour or so event (we were out in less than half that time). At the caucus I was attending, they were expecting something like maybe 125 people, I'm given to understand. But attendance topped 250! So go figure.
Thanks so much for sending the pictures and letting me post them. Reader_iam also participated in the comments here last night. It's one of the coolest things about blogging that I can connect like this to a place where something is happening.

And the photos are terrific. I love the shape — the humanity — of crowds.

51 comments:

Trooper York said...

Wait a minute. Those photos must be fake. Everyone knows that there are no black people in Iowa.

AlphaLiberal said...

Nice pics, thanks.

So, where did you sit?

And what's up with all the towns with "Locust" Streets in Iowa?

Bissage said...

Those photos are exceedingly cool – Reader rocks! -- but I thought at least there’d be coffee and Danish. No fair, man!

john said...

Oh, the humanity, the humanity. (Sorry, couldn't help it.)

So what if we all voted that way, I mean for general elections? Group pressure and all, forcing you to line up by neighborhood, identify your favorite to your neighbors, cranky aldermen (wouldn't they be elmmen in Iowa?)

Just weird.

AlphaLiberal said...

The Dem Party is known for having lousy food. I became suspicious of Gov Jim Doyle when his inaugural party had "hors douveres" and "canapes" instead of chips and dip.

john said...

I guess oakmen would be the case here.

Trooper York said...

Just when I learned how to spell reader_Iam, now I have to learn how to spell photographer_Iam.

john said...

Third picture, dead center just to the left of the woman with her head turned: Isn't that Peter Max?

paul a'barge said...

From where did they bus in the black people?

Trooper York said...

Who is the blonde in the ski cap sitting behind Aunt Esther? Did some bloggers sneak into Iowa that we didn't know about. Hmmmmm.

reader_iam said...

Oh, for pete's sake.

I don't know how well the precinct lines match up with the Washington Elementary feeders lines, but as far as the school goes, its enrollment is more than half "students of color" (the term used in the official profile).

No busing needed.

reader_iam said...

There used to be a lot of Locust trees in Davenport, and more generally in the geographic area.

Fen said...

Its not an unfair observation:

"The state is about 95 percent white... While only 50 of 1,781 precincts in Iowa are predominantly black..."

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/01/02/america/obama.php

Nice pics. Was it a "fun" process to be involved in? Looked that way.

Verso said...

reader_iam,
Thanks for the pictures! And for the stories about the caucuses. Very cool. Thanks, Ann, for posting them.

Palladian said...

Looks like a recipe for a panic attack.

john said...

Trooper,

Way too old. Maybe her mom?

Trooper York said...

I don't know dude, maybe no
make-up.

Verso said...

Ann said, I love the shape — the humanity — of crowds.

Amen. Well said. That's what makes this such a great country, and it was one of the core messages from Obama's victory speech last night.

We are so used to the multicultural and diverse society we live in that we sometimes forget it isn't like this in most other places. I have a tall, handsome friend with friend with pale skin, a fierce head of red hair, and a freckled-face. After college, he got a job teaching in Japan. He says that everywhere he went, he stood out like a sore thumb. He could be on a subway car with 150 people and they would all be staring at him -- he was the one person who was different, the one who stood out.

reader_iam said...

It's the assumption I've a problem with, and the implication of an effort to corrupt. Of which I saw ZERO evidence. (I live here, remember? And I tend to go into my cynical journo mode in such situations.)

Perhaps I should post some more information, to which I alluded last evening and certainly have conveyed in off-line conversations with various people. It is true that my precinct is not particularly representative of Iowa precincts in general; I do believe I alluded to that last evening (haven't reviewed my comments then, though my husband has. Heh, btw. Also, and OT, did he call the stock market thing, or what?).

But by the same token, it could be argued, perhaps, that this makes it a bit more in line with some other areas of the country than Iowa is in general. And it's not like the the attendees weren't mostly Caucasian (and also non-Hispanic, though that population was definitely represented last evening; we do have a fair number of Hispanics in the area, as well as a somewhat notable Vietnamese population, though I'm not sure where that is clustered with regard to precinct lines).

Just sayin', for what it's worth. With how things tend to go in election years, it could be worth absolutely nothing. Or--who knows?--not. Time will tell.

reader_iam said...

Re: Vietnamese

Just a few blocks away, one of the Catholic churches actually has a regular Sunday Mass in Vietnamese to meet the needs of that population. But, without checking, I'm hazarding a guess that this may be just over a line, precinct wise.

The precinct here appears to be more of a perpendicular drawing in relation to the Mississippi, whereas the neighborhood, or at least what I consider the neighborhood in terms of my own life, is more horizontal. The flip side of that is that just one street over and across the road starts a different line, and one which marks one of the more old-line, monied areas of Davenport.

reader_iam said...

Yet, horizontally speaking, the neighborhood extends reasonably well into that.

reader_iam said...

My immediate neighborhood is--for here (and remember I spent many, many, many years on the East Coast)--relatively quite diverse, ethnically, racially, and socioeconomically, as well as in terms of professions/work profiles and even sexual orientation.

Yeah, we're a motley lot, just around here.

Meade said...

I have a dream that one day the state of Iowa will be transformed into a situation where little boys and girls of color will be able to join hands with little boys and girls of colorlessness and walk together as sisters and brothers.

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fen said...

It's the assumption I've a problem with, and the implication of an effort to corrupt.

Less than half the national. 5% vs 13%.

I'm curious if those 50 of 1,781 precincts are racially gerrymanded? And if so, was it a choice by the blacks in those precincts, to ensure they were represented by those of the same race?

Fen said...

Less than half the national. 5% vs 13%

Strike that, I was being generous.

According to the census bureau, its Iowa 2.5% vs USA 12.8%

http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/19000.html

Fen said...

And hispanics are 3.8% vs 14.8% national.

Why are we in Iowa again?

Middle Class Guy said...

This is so Old Mutual.

reader_iam said...

Fen, I think you may be missing something by virtue of where, and, more important, how, you're focusing, but you know what? I'm not going to argue with you because there are all sorts of ways to look at things, and the different perspectives bring an array of richness to the overall picture. Also, I suspect there's no point.

Many, many things surprised me about what I saw, in person, last night (that, in and of itself, was one of the more surprising things; I'm glad to learn that I can still recognize such, btw). I can tell you that race and ethnicity per se were--for the most part, and with roughly one exception--not among them, for what it's worth.

Iowa's over. I do think too much is made of it. I also think it's foolish to make to little of it. Especially, perhaps, maybe, we'll see, in the micro, this time.

Meade said...

"Why are we in Iowa again?"

We're not; we're in New Hampshire.
Almost as bad; just substitute tax nuts for religious nuts. And the same damn USDA hardiness zones 4a and 4b. Ask Bissage: Everybody knows zones 4a and 4b are nowhere. Man.

But don't worry -- soon we'll be in South Carolina and then Florida, where even people who pass as "white" (you know, roughly 70% of the national population) can go out in to the midday sun and get a little color.

Ain't it a great country!

reader_iam said...

Palladian: Excellent observation.

Kirk Parker said...

One of the firmen from western Washington, checking in!

Simon said...

Fen said...
"And hispanics are 3.8% vs 14.8% national. Why are we in Iowa again?"

Because race doesn't matter. Because we judge people - candidates, too - by the content of their character not the color of their skin.

goesh said...

Somber and frothless, they proffer no raging ideology of salvation, rather like critters confined on their way to the packing house, they await wonderous words from their beast masters, desperately hoping this day can somehow be remembered by some future generation. Their footprints seem so timid, so shallow and faint, whisps of fluffed snow this given day on such a large planet.

reader_iam said...

Goesh: The Story of Man, behind all the fleeting tales of temporal people, so to speak.

Or, are you meaning something else?

Eli Blake said...

I suspect that the reason you didn't see more Vietnamese is that Vietnamese Americans in California and other parts of the west at least (and I'm guessing in Iowa) tend to vote Republican. Like Cubans, that began during the Cold War when they were drawn to the party that took the harder line on communism. Also like Cubans, the younger generation of Vietnamese are not as strictly drawn to Republicans as were the generation which came to this country, so the margin that they vote Republican is likely to continue to diminish over time.

I am also surprised that in a largely African-American caucus, Clinton didn't do better. While Obama clearly had his supporters, I had thought that a lot of the African-American community was strongly behind Clinton. That could bode well for Obama in South Carolina (where some recent polls have shown the two of them virtually tied among African-American voters) if the same pattern holds.

That said, I am in agreement with what has been said by many here, in that I am thankful for your sharing.

Alan said...

Speaking of the iPhone. :)

Beth said...

reader,

I never had a reaction to the caucuses until I saw your pictures. Thanks.

You indicate your district is near the Mississippi -- if you don't mind sharing, I'm curious to know about how far? I'm sitting about a half mile from it here down near its mouth.

Fen said...

reader: I think you may be missing something by virtue of where, and, more important, how, you're focusing, but you know what? I'm not going to argue with you

I'm not arguing. The stats simply reminded me of a type of provincialism - most the people I know who are quick to play the race card tend to come from regions that don't have alot of minorities.

Simon: Because race doesn't matter. Because we judge people - candidates, too - by the content of their character not the color of their skin.

Yah, I know that. There were no blacks or whites in my platoon, only different shades of green. I just think the 1st set of primaries should take place in a state more representative of the nation.

Fen said...

"most the people I know who are quick to play the race card tend to come from regions that don't have alot of minorities."

Forgot to add - you're not one of them. So its not directed at you.

Dave F said...

IOWA = Idiots Out Walking About.

Can there be any more place more depressing and marginal than Iowa?

reader_iam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
reader_iam said...

Beth:

Assuming that you mean my home, I'm even closer to the Mighty Ma'am than you are.

Sheesh, while I think it's cool that even so far apart, we can look at the same mighty stream of water at different points of its iteration, tonight I wish you were here, or that I were there, so that, just for a minute--or better yet, just for a caught breath in time--we could be looking at the same, exact thing, at least kinda.

Coincidentally, Beth--and it is coincidence, that nastily flirtatious thing--you'll never guess what I happened to be listening to when I revisited this thread and read your comment.

(Hint: To the contrary, you'll know instantly. And thanks, by the way; you were right: I find myself humming it often, recently, and for very, very good reason(s).)

LOL. With affection, from afar.

reader_iam said...

Can there be any more place more depressing and marginal than Iowa?

Yes.

And at the risk of depressing you more:

Yes, in multiples.

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

Goesh: Nice to see your byline again! I was thinking about you the other day and wondered where you were. Your profile says Bahrain. I don't recall seeing that before.

krylovite said...

Mr 9-11 strikes again!

Giuliani positive despite weak campaign

BY RICHARD SISK
DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU

BEDFORD, N.H. - He flatlined in Iowa and he's struggling in New Hampshire, but Rudy Giuliani shook off the early-state blues Thursday as only he can.

"None of this worries me - Sept. 11, there were times I was worried," Giuliani said.

dix said...

And hispanics are 3.8% vs 14.8% national. Why are we in Iowa again?

The cynical answer (for the Dems anyway) is that if the early primaries were in a more 'diverse' state the early momentum may go to a more liberal, less 'electable' candidate.

Beth said...

Reader,

Wow. That's close. I mean, I live six blocks plus the wharf away. The river is the most important marker in my life. We're connected by it, and I like that a lot. Actually, it connects me with pretty much everyone here. I can hear the cranes dropping full cargo bins from the ships onto the railroad cars and barges from where I sit. Cotton, oil, coffee, chemicals and textiles of all sorts are heading up your way right now. They'll be branching off east and west at Memphis, and Chicago. I've lived in states that border the river almost all my life.

I walk my dogs on the river levee. They swim in the shallow portions near the bank. I cross it by ferry and bridge a few times a week. I watch schools of catfish roll and jump through it at twilight. It's powerful down here at our end; the river traffic is steady day and night; just a few miles up you can take a little boat out and row, but not where I live--the currents will drag you under fast.

Sometimes we drive about 2 hours south to the mouth, past Venice, La., where the boats enter the Gulf and there's a sign saying "End of the World" posted on a shell road. It's a beautiful drive, but what I call working beautiful, lined with refineries and boatyards, small hotels, road houses and XXX movie rental places for the guys who work the river.

Reader, if you watch football, tune in the BCS Bowl Monday night. Cliff Maedchen, the singer in that video, will be doing the anthem.

Beth said...

So, after reader-iam's pictures and stories make the whole primary process interesting for me, I realize I can't vote in mine--legislation kicks in this years making ours a closed primary! I'm registered Independent, so I'm out.

reader_iam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
reader_iam said...

The stats simply reminded me of a type of provincialism - most the people I know who are quick to play the race card tend to come from regions that don't have alot of minorities.

Ah, but I'm not quick to play that card. Also, if you were referring to me specifically, you've missed (chosen to miss?) the narrative, regardless of how many times I've told or referred to it, even just here, at Althouse.

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