In Iowa, the Occupy movement may be the 1 percent.
The state’s Democratic Party reports that while President Obama received nearly 99 percent of votes in Tuesday’s caucuses, about one percent of registered Democrats voted “uncommitted” — enough votes that there will be dozens of non-Obama delegates sent in March to the party’s county conventions. And many of those delegates identify with the various Occupy movements around Iowa.
“We put an alternative to the people” said Brandon Long, a student at the University of Norther Iowa and an organizer of Occupy Cedar Valley. In mid-December, Long started a “Caucus for UNCOMMITTED” campaign via the website Occupy Iowa Caucus. “You shouldn’t be trapped between two parties,” he told me, hours before Caucus Night. “It’s not a law of nature or something.”
The morning after the caucuses, Long said he had fought a drawn-out, but ultimately successful battle in his precinct caucus for a single delegate. All told, his county, Black Hawk County, got eight uncommitted delegates. He heard from Occupy supporters in Cerro Gordo and Bremer counties that they won a few as well.
But those counties pale in comparison to Johnson County, home Iowa City, where I observed extraordinary support for the Occupy movement’s “uncommitted” strategy.
Here’s that story, told as an audio slideshow.