Sitting down to tune in for a live podcast, audience members flooded Hancher Auditorium ― whether they wore an Elizabeth Warren sticker or Bernie Sanders T-shirt ― to see former President Obama speechwriter and podcaster Jon Lovett give a talk on the Iowa caucuses last Thursday night.
Taking a comedic approach to his discussion, Lovett was accompanied by documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand, Cedar Rapids Gazette Columnist Lyz Lenz, and Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker.
Before Lovett took the stage, a projector in the background depicted President George Washington wearing a clown nose, plastered on a sketch of Iowa. After making his appearance, he was greeted with a roaring applause.
Similar to the style of his podcast, Lovett formatted his act like a television show, treating his audience with quizzes and segments.
Giving his personal input on the Democratic candidates still running in the presidential election, Lovett endorsed Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, all while criticizing candidates such as former Maryland Rep. John Delaney and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“You gotta love other people before you love yourself,” he said, in reference to Bloomberg never visiting Iowa.
Moore was the first guest to accompany Lovett, donning a Hawkeye hat as he walked on stage. Aside from comedic banter, the two immediately transitioned into Moore’s previous endorsement of Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders.
Moore said he appreciated Sanders’ consistency throughout his political career, adding that former Vice President Joe Biden likely won’t get the nomination because of “changing eras,” saying the younger generation won’t respond to Biden’s ideas.
Moore said Democrats should not take President Trump for granted in the primaries, saying this was largely why he believes Trump won the 2016 presidential election.
“Understand that the R can win again,” Moore said, referencing the Republican party. “The question should come down to fight for what you believe in.”
After Moore departed the stage, Lovett sat down with Lez, Walker, and Sand. When Lovett asked about a popular second choice for voters, Walker said that Warren seemed to be a popular second contender for many, though he emphasized Sanders seemed to be the first choice for most Iowans.
“Truly, undecided is winning this election,” Lenz said.
Walker said that because Iowa has a predominantly white population, the state isn’t reflective of the Democratic Party.
Despite all of the games and light-hearted jokes, Lovett changed his tone and discussed how Democrats need to vote based on removing Trump from office.
Ally Wobe-Bowen, an audience member from Maryland, said she’s been following the show before the 2016 election and she enjoys the style of humor they incorporate while discussing politics.
“His message is really cool, that we all need to come to the primaries, no matter what happens,” Wobe-Bowen said. “I know it’d be really hard for a lot of people if their candidate wasn’t there, but we really need to fight Trump together.”
Kyle Brown, a Sanders campaigner originally from Nevada, said Levitt’s show provides more fun perspective of politics.
“I really like the variety of guests and how it brings a humorous, non-straight view to politics,” Brown said.
Throughout the night, Lovett emphasized how the Democratic party needs to become united, ending his event with a message of unity.
“No one will know how this will end,” Lovett said. “The differences are real. Whoever we nominate, support them like hell.”
Editor’s note: The story initially incorrectly said “Walker said Warren seemed to be a popular second contender, but he also said too many people in Iowa feel undecided on who to caucus.” The DI has corrected that statement to reflect Walker said Sanders is a top choice for many Iowans.