by Jason Huber for IJR
I’m a proud Iowan, born and raised. I’ve seen the political circus roll through Cedar Rapids for many years, but I had never witnessed the show put on when Trump and Hillary both crashed my hometown within hours of each other.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s second largest city, became a key battleground for this presidential election when both candidates positioned their rallies across the river from each other on October 28th. This was an excellent opportunity for myself and many other voters in eastern Iowa to observe what each campaign had to offer.
My goal: keep an open mind and report honestly what I experienced at back-to-back rallies of the two most controversial and fascinating candidates to ever run for president.
Hillary Clinton’s rally came first. I observed a line of people wrapped around the block. As I neared the entrance, I could hear rants from a handful of Trump supporters. Once I got inside I was surrounded by a group of women and children wearing Planned Parenthood shirts as well as shirts that said “Nasty Woman.” Despite how long the line seemed, I was a little surprised to see the rally grounds less than half-full when Hillary took the stage. There were between 300 and 500 people in attendance.
Hillary began her speech by saying how she was going to help protect Cedar Rapids from ever being flooded again, and then she broke right into bashing Trump, drawing a big, energetic reaction from the crowd. She took the time to touch on the issues but never went into much detail as to how those issues would be addressed. What she did say was enough to draw a positive reaction from the crowd.
Hillary was confident, articulate, and afterwards spent one-on-one time with her supporters while taking a few selfies. Following the event I took the time to speak with women, college students, and my peer group of men to get a feel for why someone like me should vote for Hillary. To summarize, the common reason why women recommend voting for Hilary was because we could “make history” by electing the first female president. College students wanted me to vote for Hillary to eliminate their college debt. Men supported her because of her experience and a couple social issues that they felt outweighed all other problems facing the country.
While walking back to my truck, I checked my phone to see there were multiple news alerts about the FBI reopening its investigation into Hillary’s use of a private email server.
Just two hours later, my family and I went just a few blocks to Trump’s rally which was held in an amphitheater. As we were walking to the event, some 20 protesters began yelling obscenities and waving signs at us. I covered my children’s ears. Once we entered the theater there were well over a thousand energetic people in attendance. By the time 7:00 pm rolled around, there were over 3,500 people packed into the grassy amphitheater.
Although Trump was an hour late, I hear that is typical for him, and his supporters kept up the energy in the meantime. When he finally arrived, he was apologetic for his delay and immediately brought up the news about the FBI reopening the case against Clinton. He didn’t spend much time on the subject before pivoting to red-meat issues: rising healthcare costs in 2017, weak economic and job growth, and the fact that we have thousands of homeless veterans on the streets while people who are in the United States illegally receive hundreds of millions of dollars in entitlement benefits.
Trump’s rally ended in Trump fashion with a barrage of fireworks over the river.
Following the event, I met with supporters of Trump who told me why someone like me should vote for him. Women told me they did so because “he is real” and “he will protect the second amendment.” One woman told me that Hillary made her feel like “a victim,” whereas Trump made her feel “empowered.” Younger people told me they support Trump because they admire how he has built his success. The men in my peer group had a wide range of reasons for supporting Trump, mainly centered around how we need a leader who has not been institutionalized by Washington, D.C.
The 2016 presidential election has been by far the most controversial in history. I must decide between two candidates, neither of whom were in my preferred top five list when this election cycle began. Not voting isn’t an option for me. The one value I hold above all else is integrity. After attending both events with an open mind, after listening to both candidates and their supporters, and after taking into consideration their past and present issues, there is one whom I feel has significantly violated her own integrity and the integrity of this country.
I think it is time we make America great again.
This article was originally published on Independent Journal Review (IJR). IJR Opinion is an opinion platform and any opinions or information put forth by contributors are exclusive to them and do not represent the views of IJR.
Jason Huber was born, raised, and still resides in Iowa where your handshake and word are as good as a contract. He has a degree in marketing, a successful career in business, and loves his country.