The day started early for Kamala Harris and her team.
At the Water Works grounds for the Polk County Steak Fry, most of her supporters said they showed up at 6:30 in the morning to form a block of chanting and cheering. Harris’ campaign bought two spots near the event’s entrance.
It was along one of those roads that Harris’ campaign staff and volunteers set up with every kind of sign and chant.
There were normal yard signs, banners, cutouts of Harris’ face, printed large and small, and two cardboard cutouts (one bedazzled).
At her rally site, Harris’ supporters erected large letters to spell “Kamala’s Corner” and music by artists like Prince, Aretha Franklin, Lizzo, Beyoncé and Janelle Monáe played out over the grounds.
Along the road, volunteers welcomed people with cheers, signs and, in some cases, costumes. They encouraged drivers to honk and gave some people small pictures of Harris on popsicle sticks.
That dedication followed Harris into the event.
The candidate herself showed up marching with McDonald’s workers who were on strike and the Service Employees International Union. Harris was led to a stage at her rally site by the Isiserettes Drill and Drum Corps, a Des Moines-based performing group of 7-18-year-olds.
The group helped lead Barack Obama into the Steak Fry back in 2007 also played at his second inauguration.
Harris spoke to her gathered supporters and rallied them together. She told the crowd her campaign was about getting Trump out of office, but it was also about defeating the hatred the current administration has been sowing.
As she marched through the Steak Fry’s gates, Harris danced along to the Isiserettes’ drummers, and walked side-by-side with supporters, accompanied by the two groups she marched in with.
People stumbled over themselves, each other and patches of mud to keep pace with the group, and a grinning Harris paused right before the gates to watch the Isiserettes’ dancers and to dance to the drum beats.
When she took the stage at the Steak Fry for her main address, Harris introduced herself, saying, “I don’t know if you guys heard, but I’m planning on moving to Iowa.”
On that, and some of her other more well-known lines, the crowd erupted in cheers and applause.
She moved on to echo a lot of the ideas she’s known for, and the crowd cheered when she told them she’d take on Trump in the election like a prosecutor.
As she’s done in the past, Harris laid out Trump’s failures and the promises he broke, but here she focused on how he’s betrayed farmers and how he’s betrayed the country.
“He engages in trade policy by tweet,” she said. “That has resulted in our farmers here in Iowa looking at bankruptcy because of course, over decades, they did the hard work of building up a market to sell soybeans to China.”
The comment got a wave of applause and cheers, that switched to loud, and more, boos when Harris talked Trump’s pattern of trusting foreign governments over the American intelligence community.
“Just in the last 48 hours, yet again, we find that he is in cahoots with a foreign government to manipulate the outcome of this election for President of the United States,” she said.
As the boos reached a crescendo, Harris said, “Iowa, we need a new Commander in Chief … And, we need to absolutely, right away, begin impeachment proceedings. He’s gotta go.”
All of her most enthusiastic response came when she talked about big ideas and values.
Alex Young, who hung at the back, said that was what she preferred, because too many times specific policy promises end up disappointing people when the exact legislation can’t get done.
“I think it’s really important to think about the bigger picture of ideas,” she said.
by Nikoel Hytrek