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Elizabeth Warren’s Iowa Speech Was a Bright Spot in That Mess of a Caucus

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) addresses supporters during her caucus night watch party

image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

As you’ve no doubt heard by now, Monday’s Iowas caucus was a complete mess. In addition to reports of some precincts running out of registration forms (despite lower-than-expected turnout in many locations), the results at the end of the night were meant to be submitted via a new app, which ended up malfunctioning in reporting that data. The local Democratic county chairs tried to report via the traditionally used hotline, then, but since everyone was expected to use the app, the hotline appeared to be severely understaffed, leaving those caucus chairs on hold for up to hours. Like I said, it was a mess!

With so much going wrong, no one seemed to know what to do, including the candidates. News stations kept switching between live footage of frustrated volunteers and the candidates’ home bases. Finally, Amy Klobuchar was the first one to take the stage and speak to her supporters. (One of the hosts on MSNBC–I believe it was Brian Williams–pointed out that those empty stages were just a wasted opportunity for free coverage since none of the anchors really had anything new to say.)

Eventually, all the other candidates spoke to their supporters as well, but it was Elizabeth Warren’s speech, which focused on the volunteers who have dedicated themselves to her campaign, that really stood out.

Before everything crumbled to ash at the end of the night, it was really cool to watch news coverage of the (albeit ridiculous) caucus process. We got to see interviews with precinct captains, many of whom were young people, clearly so excited to be taking part in this exercise.

Warren spent the majority of her speech celebrating those Iowa volunteers. “Tonight is for you,” she told the crowd in front of her. “Tonight is for every volunteer who put their feet to the pavement to fight for change. It’s for every organizer who braved the blistering cold to knock on doors. It’s for every person who made a call or sent a text to spread the word.”

Warren has spoken frequently and at length about the unique challenges women face in so many aspects of life–personal, professional, medical, economic, academic. So it makes sense that she and her team have been actively trying to relieve women of some of the barriers that can stand between them and political volunteering. The campaign offered free volunteer-led child care in Iowa during the caucus. (I can’t speak about other campaign headquarters, but I do know that her Kansas City office also has a designated child care room.)

She spoke to these women specifically during her speech as well.

“Tonight is for the innovative, persistent women who organized babysitting clubs so they could get in more hours of volunteering. And tonight is for the single mother who had been homeless and who was so determined that her twin daughters would grow up in a better world that she found the spare moments to make calls on our behalf.”

The entire speech is fantastic. She sparks hope for the future while also taking time to seriously take Donald Trump to task. The biggest cheer of the speech, though, came at the mention of her dog Bailey which, honestly, is understandable.

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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.