Listen to the teaser below and subscribe here on Spotify for the full episode of “Uncommitted: Iowa 2020,” a new podcast from VICE News.
You hear it again and again coming out of Iowa: Whichever candidate has the best ground game will win the caucuses.
But is that even true anymore? And what the hell is a ground game, anyway?
Well, a candidate can only be in Iowa so often — especially with the demands of the 24/7 TV news cycle, the nationalized campaign, and big-money fundraising monopolizing their time. So a team of young, hungry, and idealistic campaign workers basically fill the void. They are the candidate when the candidate can’t be there in the flesh.
We’re embedding with one of those ground games for Episode 3 of VICE News’ podcast, “Uncommitted: Iowa 2020,” which hits your Spotify playlists Tuesday, hosted by Emmy award–winning correspondent Antonia Hylton.
VICE News senior political reporter Daniel Newhauser followed Adam Henderson, the Polk County organizing director for the long-shot presidential campaign of Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.).
His job is to stalk… er… reach out to as many Democratic voters as he possibly can in the most populous county in Iowa, which includes the state’s capital, Des Moines.
That means he’s knocking on doors, even when he’s sometimes not wanted. Cheering and sloganeering for hours on end at hokey political festivals, even when his voice is hoarse. And, most importantly, maintaining a relentless and enthusiastic optimism about his candidate, even when the campaign seems to just be spinning its wheels.
Booker has all the ingredients to be the Democrats’ man to take on President Donald Trump in 2020. But as of now, something just isn’t clicking.
Henderson’s convinced all his work will pay off when Booker has the big “moment” — that one intangible, fame-making, breakout moment that sets the world on fire and propels Booker to the top of the primary pack and eventually into the White House. Henderson doesn’t know what that moment will be, but he’ll know it when he sees it, and he’s ready to spring into action to make sure the rest of the world will see it too.
It sounds like grueling work, but hey, as he puts it, he’s doing it for “the heart and soul of America.”
Listen to Episode 3 and subscribe here on Spotify now.
You can catch Uncommitted: Iowa 2020 Podcast on Spotify every Tuesday. And sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.
Cover: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker speaks during an Iowa Democratic Party Black Caucus Reception, Tuesday, April 16, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)