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  • Wandering the streets of Des Moines the night before the caucuses, I realized that our democracy is doomed. It wasn't a news bulletin or an act of corruption that sparked this epiphany, It was Jimmy John's.

    As an aspirational journalist I made East for the great state of Iowa and the chance to see wannabe political athletes jockey for the opportunity to be ignored by America's short attention span. While eagerly awaiting a Vito with Hot Peppers, I was cut by several Occupiers and what appeared to be a Ron Paul Revolutionary. Famished but intrigued, I peppered them with questions. They invited me back to their headquarters for a strategy session.

    The "headquarters" was a warehouse-cum-art project. A dozen besotted activists plugged away at signs decked with narrowly patriotic slogans and the sign assembly line paused only for the strategy session, upstairs above an unaffiliated dance studio. Here the movement leaders passed out protest literature and hatched a plan to disrupt Mitt Romney's West Des Moines appearance before he performed his stump-speech sprinkled with the gospel of Reagan and Kolob.

    I smelt Pulitzer so I went along. Eight ardent Occupiers and one intrepid, unemployed reporter Occupying the Iowa Caucuses by yelling at Mitt Romney in unison to release his tax returns. Long story short, there was a mole and most of the Occupiers were tagged before Senator Thune finished his introduction. My ride had been arrested so I wandered West Des Moines and after a mile found myself at Michele Bachman's Iowa Headquarters.

    The pre-election night party was raging with the energy of a candidate polling in the single digits. I wandered the HQ, sampling cold Little Ceaser's, perusing campaign literature, stopping to interrogate an African-American on why they were at Michele Bachmann's Campaign Headquarters.

    Finally I arrived at a WalMart, in need of a nightcap. As I checked out, I asked the cashier whom they were voting for the next day. Seeing no response, I quickly changed the subject to the smooth taste the new Keystone Ice offered. I walked through residential neighborhoods devoid of political signage and later, as the Keystone Light kicked in, to bars filled with locals dark to the next day's political show. Countless blank looks and Keystone Lights later, I realized the Occupiers are part of a different, more toxic 1%, the 1% of this country who think anyone actually cares about the Iowa Caucuses.
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