Iowa of the Tweets

Iowa of the Tweets

Hello, my name is Mitch Simmons and I am addicted to tweeting.

I am also a senior mass communications major concentrating in political communications and was lucky enough to be a part of LSU’s Manship school “Iowa of the Tiger” program.

I want to share my experiences observing the Iowa caucus and believe the best way to do so is by showing a series of tweets I produced while at campaign rallies and traveling throughout Iowa.

I’ll provide pictures and elaborated responses that couldn’t fit into 140 characters after each tweet. Tweets are in bold and in chronological order. Here are a few tweets that stood out to me the most for capturing my curiosity and need to make bad puns:

10:54 AM – 30 Dec 2015: First roadside billboard in Iowa was for McDonald’s saying “buy $100 worth of gifts cards and get 52 free big macs next year”.

Saw this right as we crossed the Iowa-Missouri state line. First impressions last a lifetime and I was thoroughly impressed by this deal. I was also sad that I didn’t take them up on their offer or get a picture.

8:01 PM – 1 Jan 2016: Monster jam in downtown Des Moines tomorrow and no candidates have reported that they plan on campaigning at the event.

Which I don’t understand because an endorsement from Grave Digger could certainly secure a victory in Iowa. I wish there was some way to know how many Trump supporters were at Monster Jam that night.

12:25 PM – 3 Jan 2016:  Huckabee opens speech talking about SEC football bowl wins and LSU vs Arkansas rivalry #GeauxTigers

Another example of tiger nation. Drive 15 hours from Baton Rouge into  BIG 10 conference country only to find that SEC football is still king. Huckabee spoke to a room of supporters at a Des Moines restaurant and is a Razorback fan though he did not attend the university.  Snapchat-120031956676721807 (1)

2:18 PM – 5 Jan 2016 Local high school concert band located at the back of the auditorium. Assume they’ll play Star Wars Imperial March once Hilary enters.

Tweeted from a Hilary Clinton rally in Council Bluffs, IA. Obviously I was joking about school band playing specifically the Star Wars Imperial March, which they did not, but no lie they actually played other Star Wars music that included the always comical cantina song.  Didn’t get a picture of the band but here is a picture of Hilary speaking. The  band was located directly behind me.


7:13 AM – 6 Jan 2016: Rubio: “we have a great country, but not a great president” #marco

A lot of candidates commented on how the media is always looking for a 6-second sound bite to air or post and a lot of times are out of context which sometimes backfires. But for Rubio, this is a good one. Here’s a picture was his rally in Marshalltown, IA.


8:04 AM – 6 Jan 2016: Classmate took Marco’s half drank coffee cup that he left on stage lol

I’m sorry Manship school and professors reading this but yes it did happen and yes he did drink the rest of the coffee. I’ll leave out a name to protect his identity.

8:05 PM – 6 Jan 2016 Just remembered that at Bill Clintons speech for Hilary there was an absence of an American flag. Same for at Hilary’s event.

A couple days after attending the Hilary Clinton rally in Council Bluffs we went to see former President Bill Clinton speak upon her behalf. This was an observation I had of the stage decorations and set up from the two Clinton’s. Whether intentional or not I noticed it especially when missing in the presence of a former president. Here’s pictures from both rallies to set the scene:

8:00 PM – 7 Jan 2016 Cheers of “speech” ring out of Buzzard Billy’s bar for Rand Paul to speak in front of some 80 drunk Iowan’s.

In all honesty is was probably more like 150 Iowan’s and at the time they weren’t drunk (yet). The $500 bar tab provided by the Paul campaign allowed for some foreshadowing. In my personal experiences of being in a fraternity, the Paul rally was very similar to a fraternity formal party or chapter meeting. People literally yelling out “SPEECH” to Senator Paul, who happened to have a beer in his hand, was responded by the Senator standing upon a bar stool and speaking for about five minutes. Would have fit perfectly in a high school football team’s locker room with the quarterback rallying the offensive before a big playoff game.


10:28 AM – 9 Jan 2016 On the way to Trump rally which I assume will be a cross between WWE WrestleMania and a Van Halen concert.

And I was not disappointed. The majority of Trump’s supporters at the rally probably had been to at least one of those two events in the past fiscal year. Not sure if either make tour stops in Iowa.

1:16 PM – 9 Jan 2016 Line around the corner waiting to go through security at Surf Ballroom – Clear Lake, Iowa. btw it’s 3 degrees #trump

Trump’s campaign manager picked up this tweet with was attached to a picture of the billboard outside the ballroom and reposted it on his twitter as well as screenshotting it and posting it on the Trump campaign official twitter page. Within 24 hours I had 157 retweeted and gained over 30 new followers. It truly was 3 degrees outside which was probably the coldest temperature I’ve ever experienced. Here’s a screesnshot with the shout-out to me on the bottom:

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1:22 PM – 9 Jan 2016 Very similar atmosphere at #Trump rally and the Rocky scene where Apollo Creed walks out to “Living in America”.

Rocky IV to be exactly. Trump even came out onto the stage with the guitar solo intro from Eye of the Tiger blasting throughout the packed auditorium. I would like to remind you that Apollo Creed does die in that fight; foreshadowing for Trump’s campaign? Here’s a video clip to refresh your Cold War era memory

Hope these 140 characters of observations allowed you to see a glimpse of Iowan culture and politics.

The Iowa of the Tiger program was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I cherish my experience.

That being said, follow me on Twitter by username @LSUmitch.

Why going to Iowa will restore your faith in democracy

By Kia Sims

As a college student you are surrounded by people who think that there are more important things in life than politics. Mostly because they think that it doesn’t affect them or they simply just don’t have time to follow it. It can be really easy to lose your faith in democracy because you think that people simply just don’t care. For anyone who feels this way you might want to take a trip to Iowa to help restore your faith in the democratic process. It is hard to imagine a process in which neighbors and friends debate which candidate they will support and why, or to think of a place where anyone can become a very important part of the election process. However, Iowa is just that place during the presidential process. It is just what the forefathers imagined. Communities coming together and sharing their thoughts and opinions in order to make a well-informed decision on whom they want to vote for as president.

Continue reading “Why going to Iowa will restore your faith in democracy”

Opinion: why Hillary needs Bill on the campaign trail more than ever

By Madeline Abadie

According to recent polls, Hillary Clinton is losing her ground in Iowa, with Bernie Sanders taking a close lead.  For the past year, Hillary has been the clear frontrunner on the Democratic side, and her campaign has been working hard to prevent a loss in Iowa like in 2008. While Hillary has been travelling around the state holding rallies and earning support from caucus-goers, her campaign has deployed its secret weapon which it needs now more than ever: Bill.

At his second campaign stop of the new year in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on January 7, hundreds of people filled the ballroom at the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library to listen to former President Clinton campaign on behalf of his wife. Through praising his wife’s accomplishments while in and out of public office, and sharing personal stories about the two of them, Bill portrayed his wife as a human, not a stiff, political machine, and as a servant leader, someone who has spent her life always putting others first.

Clinton captivated the audience’s attention for around an hour, and did not attack Clinton’s opponents with the exception that it would be catastrophic if the Republicans took the White House and stopped the progress that Obama has made.

Speaking of his early relationship with his wife, Clinton described the time they first met in the Yale Law library some forty years ago. “If you’re going to keep looking at me and I’m going to keep looking back, we at least ought to know each other’s names. I’m Hillary Rodham, what’s your name?” Clinton said while receiving laughs from the crowd.

“I couldn’t remember my name, and in one way or another we’ve been together ever since,” Bill continued.

Though a lot has been said and speculated about the Clinton’s marriage throughout their public lives, it was refreshing to hear a real moment from their love story amidst the usual negative press that their relationship receives. Hillary has had an image problem since announcing her candidacy for president, but by evoking a vivid, real, and humorous story, Bill humanized his wife in an effective way which Hillary needs more of.

The former President applauded his wife’s work that she spent outside of public office fighting for others. He spoke of her going to work at the Children’s Defense Fund straight out of law school instead of accepting a job at a prestigious law firm. He told the crowd how she started the Legal Aid Clinic and brought the Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters to the state of Arkansas while First Lady there, which other states later implemented after the success of the program.

Describing her accomplishments as a senator of New York and Secretary of State, Bill praised her for persuading the Chinese and Russians to agree to the sanctions on Iran. While Secretary of State, she negotiated the nuclear deal with Russia and Putin, which Bill says “is the only thing that has survived the deterioration with Russia.”

“From the day I met her to right now, she never touched anything that she didn’t make better. She’s the best change-maker I ever saw,” said Bill.

Getting Bill out on the campaign trail is a smart move for Hillary in gaining ground and support from Democrats in Iowa. Although there will continue to be attacks from the GOP, especially Trump’s comments saying that Bill’s indiscretions are fair game in the race, Bill must rally for support among his own base and motivate Democratic caucus-goers to choose his wife in the next fifteen days for a crucial win in Iowa.

Bill must continue to boast about the economic and job growth that occurred during his presidency to remind Democrats why they need someone like Hillary who shares the same policies and will bring the same prosperity to the nation as he did.

Before traveling to Iowa, I was skeptical about Hillary’s scandals, successes, and relationship with her husband. Listening to Hillary speak first in Council Bluffs, and then hearing her husband campaign on her behalf days later shifted my views on the Clintons’ and her candidacy. Sure, I might not understand nor will I ever know the truth about their relationship. But after listening to Bill Clinton speak about his wife, I know that Bill Clinton admires and respects his wife greatly. Maybe, Bill is just a powerful speaker and a skilled campaigner. Maybe, it’s the way he talked so lovingly about his wife which caught my attention. Maybe, it’s the way that he portrayed her as a servant for others, which brings to mind lessons and teachings that I have learned throughout my Catholic upbringing. However, whatever it may be, Bill Clinton is a powerful weapon for his wife. Some say his presence and statements hurt her on the trail in 2008, but if Bill continues to do what he did in in Cedar Rapids on January 7, maybe, just maybe, he can help lead Hillary back uphill in the last weeks before the caucuses.

Opinion: College for All

By Kaylyn Blosser

Presidential hopeful Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is campaigning on making all public state universities free of tuition for all students. It sounds like a great idea – higher education, better jobs. It sounds like a good idea for Louisiana. According to the Census, in 2014, 27.8 percent of Louisiana residents 18 years and younger live below the poverty level. However, the state is looking at a $1.9 billion shortfall in FY 2016-2017. It is just not practical for Louisiana.

On May 19, 2015, Senator Continue reading “Opinion: College for All”

Ten Reasons Why All Colleges Should Send Students to the Iowa Presidential Caucuses

By: Kylie Shae Keyser

During the weeks leading up to my grand adventure to Des Moines, Iowa, I was repeatedly asked, “Why are you going to Iowa?” At the time, I did not fully understand the significance of my trip, but now I can honestly say it was one of the best experiences of my life. Every four years Louisiana State University hosts a ten-day trip to Iowa to observe and learn about the Iowa caucus process. This year the trip was organized as a study abroad program for 20 LSU students and hosted by three LSU professors.

Surprisingly Iowa is a lot more than just cows, corn and hay. It is the epicenter of American democracy. Currently only LSU and Principia College offer a program for students to travel and experience the Iowa caucuses. Here are ten reasons why more colleges (or any other political enthusiast) should take the trip to Iowa to observe and study the Iowa caucus phenomenon.


Continue reading “Ten Reasons Why All Colleges Should Send Students to the Iowa Presidential Caucuses”

You can’t sit with us: GOP divided

In just 15 days Iowa will lead the rest of the nation in selecting its preferences for the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations.

Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are running a tight race in the Hawkeye State, with Sanders showing a slight lead in some polls. And bearing in mind that Iowa has predicted the Democratic presidential nominee since 1996 (!!!), a win on Feb. 1 could set a dramatic precedent for the remaining nominating contests.

The Republican contest in Iowa is more competitive, but arguably less meaningful. There are currently 12 GOP candidates vying for a win in Iowa. But in a state that’s over 90 percent white and increasingly evangelical, its Republican candidate preferences have begun to look less representative of those of the national party.  Continue reading “You can’t sit with us: GOP divided”

Rockin’ to the White House

By Margaret Manning
The connection between voter(or caucus-goer) and candidate is essential in the battle for support in the Iowa caucuses. Presidential candidates are utilizing any resources they have to ensure their messages are conveyed and the citizens of Iowa are committed to caucus.

Social media extends the reach of campaigns from the pages of a newspaper to the screen of a device, a fact easily observed among candidates in the 2016 presidential race. Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook have intensified the way candidates communicate and mobilize voters.

Hillary Clinton is “Just chillin’ in Cedar Rapids,” Governor O’Malley has a Snapchat geotag for his Des Moines headquarters, and Carly Fiorina’s “curse” is rivaling Marco Rubio’s fashionable shoe choice on Twitter.

In the case of traditional social media platforms, candidates have exhausted their capacities. However, there is another form of communication notably used during political events across the state of Iowa. Continue reading “Rockin’ to the White House”