Dozens of Hoosier volunteers hit the road on Sunday, heading to Iowa to canvass for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“We knocked over 2,600 doors and believe we canvassed in the range of 3,000. Most people did two shifts of around 50 doors, and some did three,” said volunteer Daniel Krouse.
Krouse is a Bernie Victory Coach and president of Our Revolution Indianapolis who organized the trip under direction of Carli Stevenson, Indiana State Coordinator for the Sanders campaign.
Leaving from Indianapolis at 5:30 a.m. on Sunday, and arriving in Iowa around noon local time, Krouse said the bus was packed with the sort of passionate people who make up the base of the Democratic party.
“Talking to the people on the bus - we are overwhelmingly working class, many people were union members, and we also had immigrants and first generation immigrants with us as well.”
Members of Our Revolution Indianapolis and phone-bankers from Central Indiana, as well as representatives from Warsaw, Evansville, Bloomington, and Lake County, decided to drop everything and take the six-hour trek.
Krouse said the team went down the day before the Iowa caucus to give the Senator a final push of support.
“We don't know the people of Iowa, but we are all still willing to fight as hard for them as we would fight for ourselves. We went to canvass doors and talk to people to encourage them to come out and caucus, and additionally to persuade people to join us and to bring friends.”
Upon arrival, the team was welcomed by the Sanders field office in Dubuque, given a thorough training and practice session, and covered key points before being given lists of houses. Literature was handed out, and teams then hit the pavement and started knocking on doors.
“One of our volunteers was able to get 11 'Commit to Caucus' cards signed - similar to a union pledge card except you are promising to bring 3 people to caucus with you - for a total of 44 people coming to caucus.”
The camaraderie was palpable as supporters came from across the country, according to Krouse. And for nourishment, the Sanders campaign brought in pizza for the volunteers and the team from California provided Mexican food.
When asked if the team accomplished what they set out to do, Krouse replied, “The glib answer is that we will know when the caucus results come in. But really, the point is that we are trying to build a movement - to unite and ensure that everyone is treated with the same dignity and empathy they are owed for being human.”
The team departed from Iowa at 6 p.m. local time and got back to Indianapolis around 1 a.m. Monday. Regardless of the Iowa caucus results Monday night, the Sanders supporters from Indiana may be tired, but remain committed. Krouse explained that Iowa is just the beginning.
“There are 161 days remaining until the Democratic National Convention, plus we have to elect good down-ballot candidates in our primary, and then win the general election. We have a long way to go, but we are committed like no other campaign out there.”