Kids caucus held at Sidekick Café

Sidekick Cafe hosted a kid caucus on Saturday, Feb 1. Kids spoke about the candidates they support while a parent discussed the importance of allowing kids to learn about voting and the caucus process.


Ryan Adams

Ongoing construction to Sidekick Coffee and Books occurs on September 4, 2019 in University Heights. The business is set to open in the fall. (Ryan Adams/The Daily Iowan)

Pedro Barragan, Arts Reporter

On Saturday morning, Sidekick Café held a kid-friendly event where children had the ability to experience caucusing ahead of the official Iowa caucuses this coming Monday.

 “I have three kids and they kept hearing us talking about the caucus and they were like ‘What’s that?’ So, I thought we should have a kid’s caucus,” said Sidekick Café owner and organizer of the event, Katy Herbold.

The café had hung signs of Democratic candidates around the space, including Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang.

Katherine L. House, author of The White House for Kids: A History of a Home, Office, and National Symbol, was also there to sign her book, which is filled with White House themed activities in order to offer fun ways for kids to be informed about their country’s politics.

“There’s a recipe for baking Chelsea Clinton’s chocolate chip cookies. There’s a recipe for White House punch. For older kids, there’s a ‘How to build a model White House.’ So there are a lot of activities in there,” House said. 

House also brought a cardboard cutout of the White House Press Secretary’s podium available for kids to pose with and take photos of.

Lincoln Beihl, age 12, proved to be one political power player in convincing the non-viable caucusgoers to support his personal choice, Bernie Sanders.

“Bernie knows what the people want and he believes in the stuff I believe in and I think that’s a necessity for people,” Beihl said. 

Beihl debated with a group of Yang supporters in the final round by stating most of Sanders’ policies, eventually convincing one Yang caucusgoer to switch sides, which led to the Sanders garnering the most support at the kid caucus event.

“I watch the debates and I read the New York Times. Everyday, I read the daily news briefing, I’m caught up on the impeachment trial,” he said. “I’ve read the pros and cons of the other candidates, and I honestly think Bernie’s pros just outweigh the others’ cons by so much.” 

One of the two kids caucusing for Warren was Nilima Olalde, who showed plenty of knowledge about her candidate’s voice, as well as the history that could be made if she won. 

“She is a woman and I really wanted a woman president, because she knows how to stand up to all the other people in Congress and she doesn’t make a billionaire a senator like Donald Trump,” Olalde said. 

Katy Herbold’s two sons, Xander and Max donned Yang 2020 T-shirts. Xander was impressed by the candidate’s persona when Yang had previously dropped by the café in December.

“He just came into the shop and talked about what he’s planning. And he seemed pretty cool,” Xander Herbold said.

Max Herbold, on the other hand, was struck by the candidate’s support for children with autism.

“My mom said if he was president, he would help kids with autism,” he said. 

Katy Herbold believes that such events should occur in a lively fashion rather than being informed through a book.

“I think it’s such an abstract idea. Some things are learned by doing instead of reading about it or writing about it,” Katy Herbold said. “I think it’s an activity that you definitely can’t appreciate until you’re actively involved.” 

Katy Herbold also believes it is important for children to know what their parents will be deciding on caucus night, but also found her literary themed establishment to be the perfect location for such an informative and kid-friendly event.

“I thought we were the perfect place to hold it,” Katy Herbold said. “ We’re very kid friendly and open to learning new things here. We want the kids to know what their parents are doing on Monday night.”

Editor’s note: In a previous version of this article, The Daily Iowan incorrectly stated that Lincoln Beihl’s name was Xander Beihl. The article has been updated to make this correction. The Daily Iowan regrets this error.