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.
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:
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.