Hillary rally attendees drawn to policies, persona

Hillary Clinton speaks at a rally on Jan. 31 in Des Moines. Photo by Ingrid Roettgen/TMN.

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5G_HPgYVArc”][vc_column_text]For a candidate with the political legacy and household ubiquity of Hillary Clinton, persona is central to her campaign strategy.

With endorsements from her famous husband and daughter, Clinton is using the political legacy of her family to her advantage. As former President Bill Clinton mentioned during his introductory speech for Hillary Clinton at her rally yesterday in Des Moines, the Democratic candidate is electable because “people know her.”

Hillary Clinton has been in the public eye for so long that, for some, it feels as though she is family. One attendee, lifelong Iowa resident Marilyn Cook, says she has never caucused before, but is coming out this year to caucus in support of Hillary Clinton and in memory of mother.

At Lorraine McCleary's funeral, Hillary Clinton's photo was featured prominently alongside photos of her family.
At Lorraine McCleary’s funeral, Hillary Clinton’s photo was featured prominently alongside photos of her family. Submitted photo.

Cook’s mother, Lorraine McCleary, was a dedicated Hillary Clinton supporter throughout her life. McCleary died weeks after the former Secretary of State announced her campaign for the presidency, but Cook says McCleary would surely have wanted to be at the rally tonight.

“When [my mother] passed away, we had Hillary Clinton as her honorary pallbearer,” Cook says. “She just loved Hilary. We had Hillary’s picture at her funeral with the family photos.”

Cook’s mother followed the Clinton family for years, Cook says, but especially loved its matriarch. Cook says her mother admired Hillary Clinton’s confidence and ability to be calm in stressful situations, and would often dole out advice based on how Hillary Clinton carried herself.

“She tried to get me to come to this stuff throughout the years, but I just — no,” Cook says. “But I’m here tonight. For her. I am hoping I can get her autograph on her funeral program. Or at least that Hillary can see it.”

Lorraine McCleary admired Hillary Clinton's calmness and confidence her whole life. Hillary was an honorary pallbearer at McCleary's funeral.
Lorraine McCleary admired Hillary Clinton’s calmness and confidence her whole life. Hillary was an honorary pallbearer at McCleary’s funeral. Submitted photo.

Cook says she did not get to meet Hillary Clinton at the rally, but still had an amazing night rallying for the candidate. She says she is excited to be a part of getting Hillary Clinton back to the White House because it’s what her mother would have wanted.

Volunteer Rebecca Lipson, from New York City, was working the gate to the staffer-only area of the rally. She says she uprooted herself to work on Hillary Clinton’s campaign and has been working in Iowa since April.

Lipson, who has worked on several campaigns, including President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, says while issues such as gun violence prevention and climate have led her to support Hillary Clinton, she is especially drawn to her for a more personal reason.

“She reminds me a lot of my grandmothers, who never stopped fighting for equality,” Lipson says. “My grandmothers were actually in the civil rights movement and women’s movement, and they never stopped being involved. And that’s who Hilary is.”

Not everyone is convinced by persona alone — some choose to focus more closely on issues and policies.

Abigail Kierman, an employment law attorney and Iowa resident, says she was going to caucus for Sen. Bernie Sanders. But after a conversation with her pastor about Hillary Clinton and learning about the candidate’s long track record of foreign policy and congressional experience, she was swayed to caucus instead for Hillary Clinton. The pastor’s excitement and fervor for the former first lady’s charisma and presence in politics swayed her, Kierman says.

“She has a lot of experience with picking hard fights and, given the obstructionist climate in Congress, and she really knows what she’s doing,” Kierman says. “She really is the most qualified candidate.”

Hillary Clinton was an honorary pallbearer at Lorraine McCleary’s funeral. Marilyn Cool says McCleary was drawn to the Hillary’s persona her whole life. Submitted photo.

[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5G_HPgYVArc”][/vc_column][/vc_row]